The new Ontario Outdoors Recreational Association (OntORA), incorporated in 2017, is a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for your rights to hunt, fish, and have equal access to Crown land in Ontario. Our forerunner, the Ontario Recreational Alliance (OntORA) was originally formed in 2008 by concerned outdoors people from across the province as a reult of policy changes by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (now renamed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry - MNRF).
These policies - some of which we allege to be unlawful and unconstitutional - allocate large amounts of Crown lands and public lakes for the sole use of privately held "remote tourist outfitters" and their paying customers. In a number of cases, these tourist outfitter lodges are foreign owned.
The OntORA formed in 2008 is no more, due to extended and expensive court litigation when the MNRF laid a series of charges against OntORA and its officers as a result of a demonstration near Oswald Lake in 2011. That OntORA group was assisting a legitimate trapper to open a road on his trap line that had been made impassable by MNRF staff allegedly to deny public road access to a remote tourist outfitter on a nearby lake.
The former OntORA lost the case before a Justice of the Peace in Chapleau, and lost at the Superior Court level with a Judge hearing the case. The Ontario Court of Appeals also denied our request for review of the case. The long and costly process left the organization without sufficient funds to pay the fine that was levied. The Ontario Outdoors Recreational Alliance was therefore dissolved in early 2017.
A new organization, the Ontario Outdoors Recreational Association (OntORA) was officially formed in April of 2017 and a new executive elected. OntORA supports a variety of legitimate access restrictions and road closures for selected areas of public land and special wilderness areas where it can be proven scientifically that human presence has a significant impact and permanent detrimental effect on the environment or wildlife. OntORA believes that all provinicial parks should contain areas of remote wilderness for walk-in and canoe adventure. There should also be areas for other levels of ability such as interior car parks and areas accessible only by off-road vehicles (ORV). However, this public land should be protected equally for all people - not reserved for special access by tourist outfitters and their select clientele.
Ontora also believes that all public land should be enjoyed by all Canadians, regardless of income, social status, or political affiliation. Currently, most of the people in Ontario are being restricted from accessing over 2,000 pristine lakes on Crown land due to the MNRF's unnecessary and arbitrary road closures.
In reply to these facts, the MNRF has steadfastly stated (tongue-in-cheek) that all Crown lands are in fact open to public access - but only if you WALK in, carry all your gear, food and equipment from 3km to 50km. No type of vehicle access is allowed. They know, as we all do, that means that it is virtually impossible to access most of these 2,000 of our best fishing lakes, which remain effectively reserved for paying tourists. Some have compared this to private Ontario game and fish farms for the wealthy.
Many of our members are avid Ontario fishing, hunting, and camping enthusiasts. As such, on many occasions they enjoy hiking and canoeing into wilderness areas. On other occasions they might also enjoy riding an ATV or driving their camper or trailer into a remote lake to do some fishing with their grandchildren.
OntORA has continually received support from the United Steel Workers National Office, District 6 Office and Local 2251. Your small membership fee of $20 will contribute to restoring equal access to public lands and lakes for you and your children. Family memberships are $25. If you are not already a member, SIGN UP!