Wild Rice Concerns on Pigeon Lake

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As we are all aware, the Rice in Pigeon Lake has spread substantially over the past few years making the waterway almost impossible to navigate from Grenadier Island to Omemee, ON. The increase in rice has raised concerns with many residents on Pigeon Lake, some of which are stated below.



  1. Navigation of the water has been drastically restricted.
  2. Waterfront access and beaches are being restricted.
  3. Cutting of the Rice to gain waterfront access to our property is causing huge clumps of Rice to gather on the shoreline, which necessitates removal by residents.
  4. Lakefront properties values are being affected.
  5. Mechanical Harvesting:  This has created other concerns which have far reaching ramifications.   An individual is using an airboat with a scoop on the front of the boat to harvest Rice rather than the traditional canoe and paddle method.  This method of harvesting is NOT environmentally friendly as;
    1. The boat is powered by an engine and an aeroplane propeller.  The noise level sounds similar to a seaplane taking off but never does.  This noise is constant and lasts for hours and happens for the entire harvest.
    2. Original Rice beds are being damaged as this method of harvesting is breaking down the plants.
    3. The individual who is harvesting with the airboat launches the boat at the end of Kerry Line Rd and travels approximately 1 1/2 miles north towards Bobcaygeon and south towards Omemee.  During his travels he is spreading the seeds collected and seeding parts of the lake which have always been clear of Rice fields.  Furthermore,  I was recently advised that area lakes have been and are being seeded with thousands of pounds of rice seed.  This has resulted in more and more Rice fields developing.  The results are obvious and unfortunately, if this type of seeding and havesting continues the lakes we once enjoyed will be non-existent.

Show your support to STOP Mechanical Wild Rice Harvesting: Send an email to savepigeonlake@gmail.com

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117 thoughts on “Wild Rice Concerns on Pigeon Lake

  1. The aboriginals have the right by treaty to harvest the rice with a canoe and paddle. The treaty does not give them the right to seed. Natural progressing of the rice is accepted. Our tax dollars support the aboriginals around Ontario for housing and food etc. One also should remember the aboriginals do not pay tax.
    There is enough opposition to this practice that I would suggest the people living on the lake band together and start the battle by taking over the local Mayor and council positions. There are enough individuals involved to actually do this. Once in control bylaws can be passed to control the situation. This is one way to start and it will get the attention of the Media and also the other Governments.

  2. I would like to clarify my statement referring to the interpretation of the WILLIAMS TREATY. It should have read “… as interpreted by him and SOME First Nations Members that have voiced similar opinions in his support.”

  3. I am very puzzled as to why some people are supporting the actions of this rogue individual. His claim that his goal in seeding the lakes ( and this is definitely not limited to Pigeon Lake only) is to improve First Nation people’s health and to teach them traditional ways of sustenance is pure malarkey!!
    Of the thousands of pounds that he has planted and subsequently harvested in non traditional ways, how much has he given to “his people” and how much has he sold for profit to local and farther afield businesses? Is he ready to divulge this information to support his altruistic claims? His declaration of having finally reached “the poverty line” last year was laughable. Surely anyone that knows him or has seen him drive about would be questioning his integrity on this comment alone!!!
    I believe his selfish actions are undermining and damaging current efforts being made to try to repair and atone for the many wrongs inflicted on First Nation people in the past. Many of us involved in this dispute over the creation of wild rice fields, support and encourage the reparation and atonement efforts currently being moved forward by all levels of government. RESPECT and communication with open and fair minds are key.
    If we truly want to be governed by integrity and morality, we cannot as a society live by the “AN EYE FOR AN EYE” rule. Cooperation and logic must be shown by all parties. RESPECT FOR THE NOW AS WELL AS FOR THE PAST.
    James Whetung takes every opportunity to state/threaten that he will ” take back” all of the Kawartha lakes by seeding them. He also blatantly rejects non-native government authority over his seeding and harvesting activity. THE WILLIAMS TREATY, as interpreted by him and First Nation members, gives ultimate freedom to proceed with the drastic changes to this part of our province. Let us hope that the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect prevailes as we move forward with this challenging situation.

  4. Pigeon lake is a public lake like any land or parks that belong to the public. Individuals should not use it for personal business like planting wild rice etc..
    Are individuals allowed to plant rice in a public park? NO. This is the same for a public lake like pigeon lake.
    Please let people enjoy and use this beautiful lake in the proper way.

  5. You have obviously miss the point Owen. The point Ben was trying to make is that CLFN ISN’T wild rice locked as is the south end of Pigeon Lake. The residence of CLFN native and non-native are not being deprived of lake use because of “THOUSANDS OF POUNDS” rice being dumped there. There is still completely open water at the marine gas station, the leased cottages and the Beach area. But I think you know that’s what he meant, but just trying to justify the actions of an inconsiderate individual.

    And for the record, many people, native and non-native on CLFN do not agree with what he has done. Furthermore, MANY non-reserve NATIVES are discussed by his actions AND disagree with his absolute disregard for his neighbors and fellow humans that have a right to the lake.

    So again, let’s keep all the fact on the table.

  6. Just a couple of clarifications for Ben. Regarding his statement “there is no rice on Curve Lake”. First of all there is no body of water by the name of “Curve Lake” in the area. Curve Lake First Nation consists of a peninsula, a number of islands and drowned land. Adjacent to the aforementioned is Chemong Lake and Buckhorn Lake. Upper Chemong lake has a number of large beds of wild rice – much of it within a stones throw of Curve Lake First Nation member’s lake front homes. Buckhorn Lake also has pockets of wild rice within close vicinity of CLFN territory. The other point Ben made, “the majority of First Nations people on Curve Lake are not in fact on board with what James is doing” is not fact. Mr. Whetung is strongly supported by CLFN.

  7. It’s been brought to my attention that the majority of First Nations people on Curve Lake are not in fact on board with what James is doing.

    This may explain why there is no rice on Curve Lake while most of the surrounding waters have been seeded. James likely realizes that seeding Curve Lake would draw the ire of it’s residents.

    It seems to me that if wild rice were to appear on Curve Lake and negatively impact it’s businesses and residents, James Whetung might find himself with an opponent he’s more inclined to listen to.

  8. There is a federal election this fall – I suggest all concerned citizens phone their candidates and ask their opinion on the subject and what they plan to do to address it. http://www.elections.ca/Scripts/vis/candidates?L=e&ED=35084&EV=41&EV_TYPE=1&PC=K0L1T0&PROV=ON&PROVID=35&MAPID=&QID=8&PAGEID=17&TPAGEID=&PD=&STAT_CODE_ID=-1

    Here is a link to the As It Happens Interview:

    And here is a link to another interview with James Whetung admitting to seeding the lake even though he is not supposed to:

    And one last thing…
    Has anyone noticed the rice growing around Curve Lake Reserve on Chemong and Buckhorn? No? That’s because there isn’t any! (there is a very small amount) I am sure it would not be good for the people rent/lease land from them for their cottages.

  9. I love this guy!!! Someone please give him a microphone…

    Whetung tells As It Happens guest host Helen Mann “they’re full of shit, and they’re prejudiced honkies.”

    “They hate me and what I’m doing. And they hate my people,” said Whetung.

    “Last year I reached the poverty line,” he says…. and ….He says he has planted thousands of pounds of rice over the past 30 years, and sold thousands of pounds more to other First Nations rice growers eager to seed their own lakes and rivers.

    … poverty line and 30 years of planting/seeding!!! $$$

    What was it Obama said…
    Obama tells Muslims: don’t let Isis hijack your religion and identity

    CLEARly a Commercial Enterprise…
    I dare say most First Nations people are fantastic people! I would not include this guy.

  10. To all,

    In light of the recent news stories concerning the dire situation at Pigeon Lake regarding the wild rice proliferation, I would like to add our names to the growing list of concerned residents of Pigeon Lake. Our family has had a cottage on Pigeon Lake, east side of Big Island (aka Boyd Island) for nearly 40 years.

    We feel our situation is unique in this ongoing issue.

    While those who suffer the direct seeding of rice on their shorelines and must cut paths through that, we suffer the relentless drift of floating beds of rice debris, which is easily stirred up by boats or currents as a result of being seeded in the main channel between Big Island and the mainland near the south east end of the island. This debris drifts to our shoreline as a result of prevailing winds. Our shoreline is rendered useless as the constantly drifting grass compacts against our shore, creating a slimy festering stench of fermenting debris.

    In the main channel, boats travel at higher than normal speeds and often encounter large masses of rice grass debris floating in front of them. Encountering these large mats of grass is a safety hazard and is likened to hitting a wall.

    This problem has multiplied tenfold over the years. Today, the mats of stenching grass extends almost the size of a football field in front of our shoreline. Please see attached photos.

    Yes, wild rice was always present in this lake, naturally, not farmed.

    Please include us in your discussion on how to solve this issue to a mutually agreeable solution.



    • I was reading your letter and my heart goes out to you. Your pictures didn’t attach and I would like to see them .

  11. “Planting thousands of pounds of rice” and Rice Lake is next!

    To those who are arguing that it’s naturally occurring or seeding….check your facts again!


    Except taken from Mykawatha.com interview:
    Mr. Whetung says the amount of wild rice on Pigeon Lake decreased years ago — he suspects it’s due to a weed-eradication program that was carried about by the federal government, although he’s not sure who is to blame. He says he’s tried to combat the loss of rice on the lake by planting thousands of pounds of rice over the past few decades.

    Moving forward, Mr. Whetung wants to remain focus on rehabilitation efforts in the region, including on Rice Lake.

    “My vision is to put the rice back in Rice Lake,” he says.

    “It’s a big, big job,” he says. “I want the community — not just the First Nations — to be involved.”

  12. I agree that this issue is not an “Us vs Them” issue. But I do think that the misinformation of certain representatives are contributing to that divide. Allow me to clear up some of the misinformation that is popping up all over the media without and fact checking or correction.

    According to http://www.mykawartha.com/news-story/5817368-wild-rice-harvesting-on-pigeon-lake-a-federal-issue-mnr/ :

    “Mr. MacEachern says Parks Canada has a duty to consult with the Williams Treaties First Nations regarding any permits being issued, and in that situation, there was no consultation.”

    This is not an accurate statement because those of us that have been dealing with this issue for a couple years now know that:

    “Selwyn Township has been trying to work out an agreement that would satisfy both sides. One step was to be creation of a working committee to study the issue. But according to the township, the Williams Lake Treaty First Nations declined to take part and the committee never met.”


    There was unequivocally and with 100% commitment to engage the First Nations people of Curve Lake on this issue. They were consulted about this issue at least 2 years ago and municipal, federal partners were to meet with residence and First Nations people. There was agreement on both side to do so at a meeting scheduled for June 2015. Just before the mutually agreed on meeting was to take place the representatives of the First Nations people changed there mind and chose not to collaborate on the issue with its neighbours. Choosing status quo of continuing to allow one person to pursue commercial interests of the rice.

    But why hasn’t this misinformation been corrected in all the news reports?

    The other statement that required clarification is that:

    “Whetung uses traditional processing methods and holds educational sessions for students and the public, but also has a small-scale commercial operation.”


    Again, this is incorrect. for all those that live on or around the lake know that an air boat and a mechanical harvested are used. These are used for commercial purposes. There are no First Nations people out there harvesting the seed in a traditional method. There is one person for commercial gain that is doing the harvesting, which he has admitted.

    I urge you all to do more than just write on this forum. Please contact your local Mayors, councellors, MP’s, MPP’s, and Parks Canada about this issue. And PLS correct any misinformation you see or hear out there. Only the true facts will get this issue address so that the First Nations people and the rest of us live in harmony and with solutions that can work for all.

  13. Melissa the answer to your question is the reason why this problem is so huge for shoreline owners.

    James stood up at the meeting and proclaimed that ‘the First Nations people have been mistreated for the last 150 years, and if they want to take it all back they will’

    These are exact words by the way, the meeting was recorded.

    While the issue is about money, it’s also about big picture payback and reparations. And that is the reason that the First Nations people are so united by James, and also unfortunately the reason that all of the government bodies are so reticent to step into the fray and do what needs to be done to save the lake.

    If the lake is to be saved, we need to do it ourselves.

  14. I’m reading a lot about how people have “owned property for decades and decades” on Pigeon Lake, and it reads as though these people feel they are therefore entitled to have a more valid opinion. Keep in mind that there are people who have been there much, much longer than you.

    “O Canada, our home on Native land”

    Anyone claiming that the rice should be removed is operating from a position of privilege. Don’t want to have to -look- at the rice from your second home?


    Mr Whetug stated in the interview that last year he made enough money to be above the poverty line.

    I was raised to believe that Canada was a tolerant country.
    I guess what I was taught was wrong.

    I might not be as old as some of the property owners who have commented on this site, though I am old enough to know that your mentality is not one that is helping this country nor our culture progress.

  15. To Reggie and Ben:

    Why do you think the people of Curve Lake were so supportive of James’s work? Why would they support the efforts of someone who is using Aboriginal rights to profit himself, rather than to benefit First Nations. If their view is that First Nations benefit from James’s actions, do you think they are simply misguided? Or might there be some understandable reasons behind their views?

    All best,


  16. Do all who commenters have their facts, or just ‘chimin’ in to make a comment? When the TSW was created it flooded out the First Nations land, this is why ‘ALL’ settled the 70 million agreement with the government. The rice is not an issue, it’s the man who’s doing the harvesting, which is completely in his inherit right and the fact that the rice is actually a grass and self-seeds. He is the only one who is keeping this tradition alive, and for him to teach further generation this skill is surpassable.

  17. Seriously…wild rice…yet it’s planted…used for Native spiritual and personal reasons…yet it’s available by the pound on their website….the chaff is removed by human feet stomping on it….eeeeewwwwww…..Uncle Ben will be rolling in his grave…please let me know when the wild (planted) blueberry jam prepared in human navels is ready…..OMG SERIOUSLY!!!!!

  18. Talk about opening up a big can of worms.
    Native rights vs property values.
    A lot of talk of speeding speed boats and jet skis just make it sound horrible all around.
    I really don’t see a solution here, why does this sound oh too familiar in the way I think its gonna end?
    And what happened to the rice on Rice Lake?

  19. Not sure self intrest groups will ever just do the right thing , we can only hope the government puts a stop to it.

  20. just to add to Scott’s comment above. It is absolutely not an ‘us vs them’ dispute.

    However, when you see the level of support he had at the recent town hall, introduced and cheered like a rock star, it sort of does appear to be a fight against more than one man, James Whetung.

    The First Nations people did themselves a massive disservice by acting like cheerleaders for James and have unfortunately made it difficult to separate the few from the many.

  21. PLEASE Get RID OF THIS UNGODLY RICE before It KILLS ALL THE LAKES IN THE KAWARTHAS, I am not just talking about Pigeon Lake but also Chemong Lake, I live in the Upper Chemong for years, I also have personally observed the actions of Mr. Whetung during his harvest. The Selwyn Beach Conservation Area is right by some of this ungodly rice and it has thickened 2 folds in the last few years because of Mr Whetung actions for personal profit .The large propeller air swamp boat is very loud and annoying to cottagers and people that live on the lake and he just keeps flying back and forth through the lake and comes very close to the shores and docks of the cottagers and people that live on the lake every day through September. Mr Whetung is the only aboriginal that seems to do this harvesting of the rice. I have talked to several aboriginals that feel the same way about the lake and this rice. Also I feel this rice is unsafe for boaters as we have canoes kayaks coming from Upper Chemong with a narrow path with rice on each side and speeding boats flying through this path, Something has to be done about this before someone is hit by a boat and killed.It is a SAFETY ISSUE. Just remember the aboriginals do not own these waterways. The Trent–Severn Waterway should solely be maintained for recreational boating and tourism. And Not Harvesting rice.

  22. There are still a number of people who seem to be a bit confused as to the purpose of this forum.
    I don’t believe it is a “residents vs aboriginals” issue, as the problem of artificially accelerated rice proliferation via the employment of a mechanical device is down to the actions of one individual, not the entire collective of First Nation People.
    Unfortunately, this fact appears to be getting overlooked by folks on both sides of the argument. It is not, nor should it be, an “us and them” issue but, rather, a “we” issue. This will not be easily resolved until an attitude of cooperation is adopted by all parties in order to work toward a solution.
    Unfortunately, it appears that one person has taken it upon himself to abuse the rights and privileges afforded him by his status as a First Nations member and, presumably without consultation with or approval from either the federal regulatory bodies or the Band Council, has taken it upon himself to begin a solely self-beneficial commercial enterprise which has negatively impacted a large number of residents.
    I can’t speak for the people behind the Save Pigeon Lake movement, nor for the People of the First Nations, but only as an individual who has personally observed the actions of Mr. Whetung during his harvest. I can say that there appears to be very little “traditional method” to his approach. Furthermore, the noise from his airboat is easily audible for a great distance, even to one standing a couple of kilometers away from the eastern shore of the lake while the boat is being operated along the western shore. The large propeller serves as an excellent dispersal system for the seeds and continues to act in this manner long after the machine has left the rice bed as there is no method employed to contain the seeds once collected.
    This behaviour does not at all carry the appearance of one acting as custodian, and I believe Mr. Whetung’s comments in a recent CBC news broadcast effectively captured his selfish attitude and blatant disdane and contempt toward non-aboriginal residents.

  23. We are on board to request this unnatural spread of rice on Pigeon Lake be stopped. We moved here 6 years ago and enjoyed seeing the Beavers, otters and wildlife in the lake. The geese, loons, swans, cranes and blue heron were a delight to watch. Now we get to view rice that is so thick the animals and birds have no room or ability to get thru it. Have to say even the great fishing we are known for is going downhill. Can’t get thru the rice to fish. The advantages of the spread of this rice do not seem to benefit the majority. Especially the animals, birds and fish that cannot speak for themselves. I enjoy the lake, the water. Did not buy waterfront property to assist someone to make money farming rice who does not seem to care who else is being impacted. Who is selfish here?

  24. One man without respect for anyone else, makes me sick. The claims of “rights” is just a smoke-screen for his irresponsibility. If any one of us started a program that would eventually ruin the lake, we would be charged, taken to court and fined so fast it would make you head spin. If calm and reasonable solutions are not found, then maybe we as a society should become much less tolerant of this breach of our rights as landowners. Sometimes we are just TOO Canadian and way too tolerant of idiots in Government positions.

  25. I attended the Open House hosted by Kawartha Conservation on August the 20th.This open House was to explain and ask for input regarding the Pigeon Lake Management Plan. Unfortunately the focus of the meeting turned to The right to Harvest Wild Rice. All people emotionally expressed their views which provided us all with a little more clarity of the issues. In my view it was obvious that a lot of people did not understand what our issue is with harvesting the rice. We have no issue!! We respect the First Nation right to harvest. Our issue Is the admitted deliberate seeding of the lake creating new rice fields in areas where rice never existed and the harvesting of these cultivated (farm fields) with an airboat. Proper care is not taken to ensure the seeds gathered remain in the boat when travelling back to the public boat ramp resulting in random seeding again in water where rice never existed. NO ONE whether it be a First Nation member or any other Canadian has the right to seed public waterways and cause irreparable harm to hundreds of Shoreline Owners, fishermen, tourist operators and tourism. We invite consultation and dialogue in finding solutions to the above. We must work together in finding solutions if we are to live harmoniously in this great place we call Canada.
    I would also like to suggest to all residents surrounding Pigeon Lake that did not attend the Kawartha Conservation Open House on Thursday, to attend one of the Open Houses scheduled for August 29th and September 1st. It is encouraging to see the detail of planning this group is doing to help ensure the health and sustainability of the Lake we dearly love.

  26. As a property owner on the shores of Pigeon Lake we are to abide by strict bylaws regarding how we maintain our shorelines. One main one is to not do anything that causes excess turbulence which can negatively impact fish habitats. With the centre of the lake filled in with the man seeded rice bed which is creeping closer and closer to our shore, boat traffic is forced to navigate closer to the shores. This is resulting in excess wave action along our shores causing unnecessary erosion and the obvious disturbance to fish habitats as much boat motor cut rice floats a shore. The rice bed must be removed. It is negatively impacting every pigeon lake property owner and is also creating huge negative environmental issues. There are far more negative effects then positive. We wouldn’t tolerate someone planting crops for cash gain in our public parks which are for everyone to enjoy so why tolerate it in our public waterway system?
    Remove the rice!

  27. Been saying it for years this is bad and it must be stopped the lake must be dredged and al Those rice fields stripped and pulled. It certainly doesn’t help the wild life our fishing has gone way down to. Not just because of this but this is a huge reason and I grew up on pigeon the beaches I once swam at are almost gone in lake view estates. Over the last four years that whole end of the lake is closing up. Another few years the lake will be gone and this will drastically effect the Trent Severn water way and the economy around all the small towns that depend on the tourist that come into our towns via boats. My assumption this number Is in the 100 000’s of dollars now what’s gonna happen to these towns if the beautiful town and lakes that attract people here are no longer existent. People stop coming and we all suffer.

  28. I agree. The lake is being ruined. The rice fields are not natural. They were planted by someone and they have spoiled the lake. It needs to be stopped.

  29. Our family has lived on Pigeon Lake for 37 years. We have watched the rice take over the lake to the point that the only one enjoying it now is the rice money makers. It’s time to listen to the local people and start cleaning up the lake so we all can enjoy it once again. We moved here many years ago because of the lakes beauty now drive by it and tell me it’s still got the same beauty……

  30. We have live in Cowans Bay for 37 years and the rice issues have ruined the lake as well as the river. It’s time to get control again. We all are responsible for the environment
    Rice harvesting must be stopped. The rice in Pigeon Lake isn’t wild… it’s a cash crop. Pigeon Lake is not an individual’s farm, it is a natural system that we all share and enjoy. How can the interests of one person trump those of the many. Time to ask the taxpayers their opinions…….

  31. sickened by the radio interview with James Whetung. The interviewer listens idly as James describes ignoring Federal Directives to not plant wild rice in bodies of water controlled by Federal Jurisdiction. These directives exist for several reasons, one of which is that other shoreline residents, people who pay higher property tax rates to live on the lake may not want a giant rice bed in front of their house. Where is the line of questioning that raises that question? So James can use any body of water he likes as his own personal farmland and the interviewer doesn’t bat an eye. A ridiculous interview that gives far too much credence to the whims of one man. James Whetung is not god, and the interviewer would’ve done well to come at this interview from another perspective in addition to the one where he blow’s sunshine up James Whetung’s a**.

  32. The rice unfortunately moves aggressively and has impacted areas of the lake that are not being harvested by anyone and thus only have a detrimental effect on those parts of the lake and the shoreline. Residents who pay higher taxes to live on the lake are seeing property values decimated and are unable to enjoy the recreational activities that the lake used to provide. Those planting the rice may see it as their right to do so but at what expense? The economical impact of the destruction of Pigeon Lake far exceeds the profit from selling a few bags of rice to the local winery.
    This must be stopped.

  33. Why in the world can’t people leave well enough alone & leave natural balance alone?
    If something is a non-native invasive species it can be dealt with properly once people have educated themselves as to how to do it correctly without harming the surroundings. If however nature is simply doing its natural ‘thing’, leave it alone.
    Who has jurisdiction over these lakes & why can’t they step in & stop the idiots who are ruining it?

  34. The right of the few do not out weigh the right of the many. This will eventually contaminate the entire system from Bobcageon to the Bay of Quinte. If the few insist that they have the right, then ALL current waterfront property owners should be offered a buy out of current market value for their homes before this spreads further and wipes out all investment they have. If you build in the country next to an existing farm and then complain about smell, shame on you. If you purchased property and then years later an individual or group decide to change the use of the surrounding property without consulting with the local residents, shame on them. I can not stand in the water and work on my shoreline with ORCA fining me, where is ORCA now? What of the current water fowl that needs open water to live? Gone will be the geese, ducks, Osprey, and on it goes. If a local winery is the end user boycott it, no demand means no more need for rice. Spread the word, this is the first I have heard of it.

    • The birds you mention actually benefit form the wild rice stands! They feed from it and can hid in it. In the U.S., Ducks Unlimited supports the seeding of lakes to increase habitat so they can hunt them!

      When you buy a property, you don’t get to choose who your neighbours are, nor who moves in after them. You might have some say on a monster home going up where a small cottage used to be. But you certainly don’t purchase the view or the use of space outside your property. Yes, you bought because it was on the water.

      I feel sorry for all property owners on Pigeon Lake who don’t have respect for the “nature” that you think you bought with your land. Nature is constantly evolving… it has a history. And in the case of the Kawarthas, nature was vastly transformed by development projects of Europeans. That includes both the elimination of wild rice stands by the inundation of shallow lakes that made the water too deep for it to grow, and the flooding of land that made it possible for new wild rice to grow.

      Cottaging or cottage/rural life cannot exist outside of history, both past, what is being made today, and how it will turn out in the future. Nothing stands still, including manomin.

  35. This is likely an unpopular opinion, but here goes… For 30 years, my parents resided on Pigeon Lake, and often watched the natives harvest rice in unpowered boats and canoes. The rice should seed naturally, and be harvested the same way. My parents and I agreed that the lake should be made completely non-powered, as Silent Lake is towards Bancroft. It should be declared a Bird Sanctuary, and as such deemed for canoes and rowboats only. Instead it’s full of drunken jet skiers, speed boats, and fishing boats with 200 hp motors, tearing up the shallow habitat and destroying more wildlife that any plant or animal possibly could. It would make a great fishing spot for those willing to paddle or row, as Silent Lake has become. The other two larger and deeper of the tri-lakes will still provide ample room for all you wound up power junkies out there. Wild and aquatic life needs it’s own space, as much as you do. There are plenty of roads for you to ‘navigate’ from one spot to another, if you so chose.

    • In Pigeon Lake.

      Wild rice, by the way, is the name that Europeans coined for what is called manomin. It is not rice at all, but a cereal that is the seed of the aquatic plant Zizania. This species is probably aquatica.

      “Wild” was the name given to this rice like cereal because it “seemingly” grew by itself. That is because Europeans were ignorant, and continue to be, about the fact that Indigeous peoples the world over have been managing their food sources for millennia. Just because they’re not in neat rows, or surrounded by fences, doesn’t mean they’re not managed. By the same token, even though they do not have designated owners/farmers/cultivators, historically, families did take ownership of different parts of manomin fields.

      So you see, there is nothing new that James Whetung is doing. And just so it is clear, you don’t just harvest the manomin and sell it. There is a tedious process to turning the long green grains into the beautiful, nutritious food that is mostly enjoyed by rich people who can afford to pay what it goes for.

      And 95% of the “wild rice” on the market is grown in Asian-style paddies in California by big Ag.

  36. Please Save Our Lake!

    Watching the Rice Weed taking over the lake has been a nightmare. Our family and friends are on Pigeon Lake and we are all avid boaters and participate in watersports. We have been fighting the rice weeds infront of us up until now but it seems to be a losing battle!

  37. Do not be blaming Curve Lake First Nation people as a whole. This is being caused by a rogue few. get your facts straight buddy before you start blaming.

    • Patricia, you are absolutely correct. This is a individual who is using First Nations for his own profit. He may share a small amount but he is in it for him. There are people who don’t have all the facts but are just finding out. I hope this gets resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. We need to help each other not fight.

  38. I too use this lake, and I have noticed the increase in rice over the years, and although it is hard to navigate through, it does have its benefits. As most of you must notice, the amount of migratory birds that use this lake over the fall to replenish their bodies for the flight south are incredible, and more and more species are arriving every fall. These birds also spread the rice, as do your boats as they power through the rice in their way. I really wonder if this is fair to blame it on re-seeding, when I have never seen pictures of this happening, nor would I see one throwing away the rice that everyone seems to think he is generating for personal profit. Further, rice is natural to the waterways that were created by the loggers when they flooded our Native lands, and covered our villages and community that were along the shoreline. I have pictures of my father on Lovesick Lake in a flooded area that was once land, paddling through rice beds that were 5 feet over his head, 70 years ago. These natural plants that our people harvest, were here long before contact, and before they flooded our Lands so you could build your cottage, and now somehow, take complete ownership of our waters, all of our waters, so you can play when you get back from the city. Some of you are here year round, and I do see the nuisance of the rice, but harvesting the rice is legal for our People, and the ripping of the weeds from the lake I am sure is not, and I am hoping that those involved will be charged with environmental offences before this happens again. I hope the birds enjoy a great feast this year on their way south, and I will be there to gather them for my freezer as they travel through.

    • Hi Kris
      Read your comments with interest.I too enjoy seeing the flights of Birds. I would like to clarify a few of your comments. First of all the area of concern is on Pigeon Lake. This area never had any substantial rice beds until James Whetung started harvesting by mechanical means and spreading the rice far and wide. He also took it upon himself to seed the lake and admitted he did this on a radio interview. Please go on the Internet and type in Terra informa and listen for yourself. He states he puts thousands of Lbs of rice in the water even though the TSW asked him not to. His actions are called farming, these rice fields Cultivated and therefore are not NATURAL!

  39. HI
    Wanted to say it’s the same on upper buckhorn. .sick and tired of pulling weeds..we used to hear frogs..there gone. ..we used to be able to tube and water ski can’t. ..wild rice is spreading to emerald isle…soon we will walk across the lake on a bed of useless mats of weeds…these plants weren’t here last year this dense..so upset that nothing is being done about this…where to start?

    • Simone,

      Your comment that it wasn’t so dense is interesting because there is a contention that the reason the wild rice has expanded in Pigeon Lake is that it is being seeded. In fact, the rice spreads on its own, especially when it’s not harvested.

  40. I am a fellow NON NATIVE Cottager on the Lake and find this act against Wild Rice to be ignorant and shameful. People constantly forget we are on First Nations and we weren’t cottaging here for 10,000 years or more. This right of first nations to feed themselves and support local economy is their Aboriginal Right and have been doing so, LONG LONG LONG before we were ever here! We have taken everything from them must we have ownership of their customs , traditions, and water as well? Just because I pay taxes and have property on the Lake is it right I tell people who have been here and took care of the land thousands of years previous that I have more of a right to it than they?

  41. We will gladly sign the petition and would like to attend Council when scheduled. Please advise.

  42. The meeting between a number of stakeholders in the well-being of Pigeon Lake was scheduled for last Fall, but was cancelled at the last minute. It is now June. The rice and other aquatic species are growing fast. What is happening with the rescheduled meeting in the regi of Kawartha Conservation? Can someone let us know?


  44. I cannot navigate my 115hp boat from my dock to the Sandbanks for a wonderful swim with my kids without the damn rice stems wrapping themslves around my propellor and stopping the engine. I have to stop. Shut off. Get in the water and remove the foiliage from the propellor. While stopped, I hope that another fast-moving boat in the narrow supposedly-cleared channel won’t hit me or my distressed boat. Then I climb back into the boat and pray that I won’t have to do it again. Same thing on the way home. Each and every time. It’s just a matter of time before the rice field blows my engine up and I shudder to think of the repair costs. Even worse when I take my Sea-Doo out there. Can’t this be stopped? That this rice is being planted and expanded PURPOSELY for the financial benefit of one or two people is an insult to every tax-paying property owners on the lake.

    And this is not like aboriginal groups have been doing this on this part of Pigeon Lake for thousands of years beforehand and that right to traditional fish/hunt/farm has to (and quite frankly, should) be preserved. Pigeon Lake was FLOODED in approximately 1908 from already-clear cut and well-used non-aboriginal-owned farm lands. I strongly doubt that the Curve Lake First Nations people were harvesting wild lake rice at anytime before then. Sorry, but that’s the fact. So exactly what right is being preserved to everyone’s detriment? Please save Pigeon Lake!!!

  45. Hello,
    As a resident of this area I would like to express my dismay at the statements made on this page. I would like to ask each one of you to do a bit more research before making some very strong statements that could potentially polarize our community. Please research the following topics- the aquatic ecosystems of this area (and the role that wild rice plays in sustaining wildlife populations including fish that are native to the area), the history of human ‘maintenance’ of the lakes (flooding, removal of vegetation etc.), and the rights of local First Nations in regards to harvesting wild rice. Also, if you can put your anger to the side and be rational- I would encourage you to engage in a respectful conversation with James- and listen to his side of the story- he is not a greed-driven capitalist engaged in a commercial enterprise. This issue goes beyond your belief that Pigeon Lake should be clear of vegetation because it was that way when you were little or when your grandparents bought your families cottage- this issue involves a relationship that began before settlers even knew this lake existed- this issue involves a direct relationship to nutritious food- that has less impact then the instant basmati rice that many of us purchase in the grocery store.
    I would like to caution you not to start a ‘fight’ that pits our community against one another- we may not all agree with each other but at least make an effort to understand the entire situation- there is a lot more at stake here then aesthetics.

  46. it seems to me that since ww2 the baby boomers have had a lot of fun on this lake, disregarding its past before there was cottagers whos recreation does not concern natural aquatic life (sewage, petroleum products). now looking back as children who enjoyed the greatness of these times it is hard to remember what the landscape looked like before the lakes became cottage country. so i understand that people are upset they have more trouble enjoying their ignorance (our environment needs to be nurtured not just enjoyed at our future expense). these waterways have been fluctuating over centuries from beavers and now man made dams where these grasses have been growing naturaly before people could exploit the areas natural beauty. this man whom is only one person of a past civilization of many great people harvested and traded these seeds as family/ tribes. if you expect one man who cares about maintaining these traditions to work it as though he is many shepherds. i believe you are asking too much of one man. these more modern technologies helps him accomplish his task in this modern world. it seems to me that we modern people are asking a man/people/culture to become more extinct because the modern cottaging society needs to enjoy nature on their “new” terms. the benefit of this mans efforts helps hundreds of people eat a dying grain/grass seed that can benefit people. or we can stop him, a tradition of cultivating a spices, so we can enjoy our 1-4 weekends/ year oblivious to the rare bug we squashed (Indian culture). it is clear to us that our current way of living as a society needs to change. to change the world, we need to find better ways of enjoying nature rather than making suburbs out of lakes for us to exploit. this wilderness can be enjoyed in a more conscious way but is is our decisions today that makes these things happen. james is not only keeping the seed alive. he is passing it on to our younger generation keeping knowledge alive the only way he knows how in our troubled times.

  47. Thirty years ago our family purchased our cottage on the pristine waters of Pigeon Lake. The fishing, water sports etc. we’re enjoyed by all. Now when we look out at the wheat field that is our view we are saddened by what we see. Where have we gone,so,wrong to allow such a sad thing to happen. Perhaps when we withhold our tax dollars we might get some government response to the problem that is hurting us all.

  48. In response to Owen Cummings comment, it should be noted that the area of Pigeon Lake being referred to on the website, did not have a substantial growth of Rice until it was seeded (planted) by an individual who’s sole purpose was to seed,harvest and sell commercially for his own personal financial gain. The growth of the rice of these rice fields is not natural and left unchecked will as you stated have a severe detrimental effect on the waterway. I used the word waterway as it is not natural as it is the result of the building the Trent Severn waterway which millions of people have the priviledge of enjoying.
    I encourage you to read all the information on the website to understand we are not against the natural
    Growth of wild rice nor the traditional method of harvesting for consumption by the individual doing the harvesting. We are not in favour of Seeding the Lakes and Commercial Harvesting by an individual for their own financial gain.

  49. In response to Ed and Linda Mulville, there is “rice” planted not in my back yard but actually my my front yard – Chemong Lake on which I live. How much aquatic life has been destroyed by people such as yourselves, who have altered the shoreline from its natural state in order to have “pristine” lake conditions. Dredging shorelines to allow access from waterfront lots to the water has had severe detrimental effect on nature’s waterways. In my mind there are far more important things to address than re-seeding and re-introducing a native plant into an area which has been destroyed of so many other natural occurrences.

    • Hey Owen Cummings….

      Pigeon lake is man made… The entire Trent waterway system is. Go preach and hold hands with other tree huggers like yourself elsewhere. I’m fairly certain I speak for the majority when I say that we all want to be good stewards of our lakes and waterways. What that means to me is an ecological solution balanced with the property owners wishes of clear open water.

      So…. If you don’t like airplane noise you don’t buy a house by an airport. If you don’t like boats…. then don’t live on the water genius.

  50. Save Pigeon Lake

    What was once a beautiful lake to view, fish, swim, and water ski on is now a lake of wild rice which has made all the beauty ugly and lowered the price of our homes

  51. For the gentlemen who commented that he should be able to grow rice on our already destroyed Pigeon Lake why not plant it in your own back yard. Whe we built our home here 13 years ago it was a wonderful lake for swimming, fishing, waterskiing and just to look out at the lake itself was a thing of beauty. Thanks to one man it is a mess and allows us NOT enjoy all the things we used to enjoy as well as our property value has taken a hit We support pigeon lake

  52. As a resident of the Pigeon Lake shore (Eastern) I have followed the issue with deep concern.
    The initiative by Larry Wood is good and deserves our support.
    The expansion of rice fields appears to be multifactorial: the result of ?deliberate human activity as well as the “cleaning” of the lake by zebra mussels which encourages rice growth.
    Our focus should probably be to ensure that lake access remains good and maintained as it has been for the past 2-3 decades, even if this requires weed (including wild rice) removal such as is done in the Rideau Canal system (paid for by taxpayers). Wetlands should remain wetlands, open lake should remain open.
    The authorities charged with upholding current laws should do so.
    Parks Canada must be encouraged to alter rules/regulations regarding weed removal to reflect the changing ecology.
    Local and regional politicians must understand all aspects of the issues.
    A sensible balance between lake, nature and humans must be upheld.

  53. To quote the gentleman whose opinion is expressed above,

    ” It wasn’t so many years ago that the non-native milfoil plant took over the lakes and made them less navigable. Then it was zebra mussels that “invaded” and people were up in arms.”

    The examples expressed above clearly support non-seeding of the lakes. Intentional seeding, and or mechanical harvesting/seeding of the lakes is not a natural process and as such presents similar threats to the environment as do the above examples.

    These examples bring to mind the expression, “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

  54. As a member and resident of Curve Lake First Nation and living lakeside, I support the seeding and collection of “rice”. The recent resurgence of this plant,in my opinion, has been an environmental help in that, as many people have expressed, there has been a decline in power boat usage. If this is so, then it is obvious there is less fossil fuel being burnt resulting in less pollution going into our air and water. That is another side of the issue. It wasn’t so many years ago that the non-native milfoil plant took over the lakes and made them less navigable. Then it was zebra mussels that “invaded” and people were up in arms. As it turned out this invasive species cleared out a lot of the milfoil and was seen as a godsend to these people with their power boats as they now did not have to battle the weeds with their power boats. And then there’s the fish species that are not native to these waters – pickerel, crappy, carp. And now a handful of people are concerned about a native grass that was here and used hundreds of years ago? The way I see it, this is the flavour of the month for the people supporting ‘Save Pigeon Lake’, and when a new flavour becomes available, they will jump on their wagons and preach their own virtues why to give support. I also must address the comments made by Ann Bourne Erickson. I will not comment, in this forum, on those she made regarding “indigenous people” because it is obvious that she is an uneducated, uninformed person when it comes to the statements she made and I would expect most people would see through this. I would go as far as referring to her as ignorant when it comes to what she expressed. A person, such as her, needs to be educated and helped to overcome her racist attacks. My hand goes out to her. I wish her good fortune in the operation of her B&B on Chemong Lake.

    • Thank you for your insight.Everyone is entitled to express their thoughts and yours are welcome.

      I encourage you to read my presentation to the Selwyn Council which outlines the effects of intentional seeding and mechanical harvesting of the rice.

      I have been on Pigeon Lake since 1947 and have watched wild rice beds mature and produce rice seeds every year. These rice beds were self seeding and did not spread. Unfortunately the intentional seeding of the lake, where rice fields never existed and the commercial mechanical harvesting has resulted in the need to bring this matter forward.

      In reference to the decline of power boat usage,less burning of fossil fuels etc. Perhaps one should bring this thought forward and suggest to the person doing the mechanical harvesting that he revert back to the traditional method of harvesting, then the seeding of the rice beds would no longer be needed

    • I wouldn’t be allowed to walk into Emily Provincial Park (land owned by government) and plant my own crop of corn that I eat and sell and make money from. Why should someone be able to grow their own crop in a lake not owned by them? It’s no different.

      The rice has killed off all the other naturally occurring weeds and plants in the lake. All that’s left is rice and mud.

  55. He is selling his rice to a local Winery to make rice wine. His information on the harvesting of the rice is not true and they are selling the wine with untrue advertising.

    • Its disappointing to hear that the rice is being sold to Kawartha Winery. I love their wines, but I will not purchase another bottle from them until the harvesting of rice STOPS on Pigeon Lake.

  56. He is selling the rice for a lot of money to Toronto restaurants and the kawartha winery. This is not to feed “his people” This also not wild rice. He is planting 1000’s of lbs of seed in our lake and harvesting it with a swamp boat.
    It produces horrible noise for hours each day through the fall. This is farmed rice. It is being cultivated.

  57. We have been trying to run a small B&B home business in the name of Tourism, but in the 10 years we have been on Pigeon Lake, it has been hard to keep enough open water for us or our guests to enjoy using a canoe, kayak, or paddleboat.
    Ten years ago in Sept. 2004 we bought our home on the water and there was no rice in the bay at that time. The following summer arrived and we were shocked to see a wall and field of green rice covering the whole bay in front of us! We could not even see our neighbour’s property across the bay from us.
    At that time I realized that the rice was going to depreciate the value of our house and land. However, being new to the area we didn’t understand why the rice was spreading on the lake so quickly. I grew up on Chemong Lake and we didn’t have rice growing in our bay there. Then I was away from the area for 38 years.
    Now my question is:
    How can one man be allowed to ruin the lake and area for so many people?
    It seems to me that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) should have stepped into this terrible situation long before this. We really need their help!
    Unless the MNR does something to stop this ruination of Pigeon Lake and the devaluation of our properties on and near this lake, I wonder if a class action lawsuit would be worth considering? After all, they have done nothing to stop this situation for at least 10 years!

    • We also wondered about a Class Action. At the very least to have the rice harvesting and seeding stop and to have remediation done to remove the rice. If not to compensate for our loss of property value and your loss of business…

  58. We have lived on Pigeon Lake for over 30 years and can’t believe how much the rice had invaded our lake. Funny, we need almost a permit/licence for almost anything we do so do you not think these certain individual’s should also be licenced and monitored on how the rice is harvested and more importantanly the spreading of the seeds?

  59. Since this wild rice is planted and harvested by one individual, it should be classified as an invasive species.
    It is not like the cat tails that have been their for years.
    That being said, we should be able to cut the wild rice in early summer before it goes to seed and by cutting it not feel that we are breaking any laws.

  60. lCount me in to stop this madness as well. Had a cottage in WINDWARD SANDS for 6 years, sold it to get away from the rice corruption. How can one person profit from a crop that has spoiled the lake for hundreds? Make it a bylaw that forbids any commercial operation running from a public boat ramp. Done.

  61. One can not enjoy any water sport’s do to the RICE over taking Pigeon lake, For example you CAN NOT water ski in, Scuba dive in, Sail board in, swim in, Or paddle a boat through all of the Wild Rice in Pigeon lake ! Boat prop’s and jet ski prop’s are forever getting fouled up with RICE , Not to leave out the safety of the children or disabled person’s whom if tangled up in it could very well be KILED ! Let’s all of Kawartha Lake full time resident’s & seasonal resident’s alike band together for the good of everyone , You don’t have to be on Pigeon Lake to have this issue be effecting you , We all are asked for the good of all to sign a Petition at, http://www.savepigeonlake.com ,United we stand !.

  62. I have been camping on the lake for 25 years and have never seen anything like this.The rice is ruining the lake and making navigation unsafe.The MNR must take action ASAP,every year more and more of the lake is lost.Is it legal for someone to be using public space as their personal cash crop.

  63. This has been going on for many years now.How can the MNR let this happen? they know about it, if people know where they launch there boat how on earth are these people getting away with this?
    Yes Please add me to the list, totally disgusting!!!!!

  64. stop this form of farming. this lake needs to be enjoyed by everyone. Killing the lake with this type of harvesting needs to be stopped.

  65. Would love to see the MNR look into this issue and take the necessary actions. I don’t know enough about the science behind it to comment but I use this lake a lot and would hate to see such a strong fishery die becasue we just sat back and did nothing.

  66. The lake is not native to the lake. We made the lake out of a stream with the lock system. The whole “not natural” thing is kind of moot. The lakes that we claim to be “natural systems”, yep, we cooked that up. Find a new argument. Should there be industrial-scaled production in the commons that is Pigeon Lake? Absolutely not. Can we harvest rice in a sustainable way and create a vibrant and unique local culture around it? I would like to think we can. There is more opportunity in this for ensuring a robust local economy and culture than there is downside in losing our throw-away mono-culture of recreation and desperation to cling to truths supported with misinformation.

    • Thanks Gary. It had to be said. Also what about indigenous communities that utilize these crops as a staple in their diets. Or are we going to strip them of that also. I think that recreation is important for stakeholders but should not be the main focus of this discussion. Just because something looks nice does not mean the there is ecological function. It would be nice for a public forum to materialize from this but it should establish the ecological pros and cons to these crops ( which are native to the kawartha’s). Due to channeling, we have created these pool (lakes) which may have had natural seed banks of rice and now that the hydrology has changed to conditions that favour growth of rice we are condemning natural succession. I do agree that seeding and industrial scale harvesting of this crop should be cautioned, this is a real opportunity for local sustenance farmers to integrate into the community so that all stakeholders can benefit from the harvesting of this rice through consumption and availability of locally sourced food stuffs. Lets not look at the rice as a burden but as an opportunity to bring this community closer.

      • I would like to comment on this statement of yours, Ollie. “indigenous communities that utilize these crops as a staple in their diets. Or are we going to strip them of that also.”
        I would like to say you may be out to lunch, or ask you if you are dreaming? Do you know what the indigenous people eat for a diet? I don’t believe that you do.
        My first husband was an OPP who help start the Northwest Flying Patrol out of Sioux Lookout in Northern Ontario. We met and hosted many of the indigenous people in our home. Bill spent most of 2.5 years living on the reserves and settlements north of Sioux Lookout, and it would surprise you what these people prefer in their diets. Bill looked forward to eating caribou, venison or moose when possible in their homes. However, at that time the indigenous people there thought it was a real treat to serve canned meat (eg. Spam) for a meal when he was visiting! It was quite a joke at the time. Rice was not a staple in their diets. We bought a lot of wild rice from the areas around Kenora and south of there in the USA for ourselves. Wild Rice is not cheap to buy; but, that is what the indigenous people really want from the wild rice – the money!
        Also Bill’s brother from Norwood lived in Northern Sask. with a Cree lady from the area for more than 25 years and raised 6 children while homesteading on La Pointe Lake – accessible by plane only. He died in 1996 while hunting, but I stay in touch with his partner/wife and family. They rarely eat rice, and having spent time in La Ronge, Sask. at times through the years, I found their main staple is the same as ours – potatoes! In 1998 I travelled with some of the family to a wedding off into the boonies north west of La Ronge. They ate no rice either, and in fact they didn’t hunt for their meat any longer either. Because they had hunted at all times of the year, there was no wildlife to eat due to over – hunting the entire area!
        I don’t think you understand the thinking of most indigenous people. They rarely plan ahead for anything. They live only for today. I understand them after many years of living with them. I do not fault them but I do believe “you reap what you sow”.
        How can you possibly consider this planted rice as being “wild rice”. This man appears to be very greedy and selfish – to ignore the laws of this country (planting rice seed and gathering it in his way on a Federal Waterway) and obviously he doesn’t care who he hurts along the way.

        I wonder if you went to Curve Lake, if you would find many people there who know what Wild Rice is, and if they have ever eaten it? I have never seen an indigenous person concerned with eating healthy. I worked in Home Care and have been on the Reserve. While in homes there I didn’t see any signs of anyone eating healthy wild rice. Where would you get this ridiculous notion that they actually eat wild rice as a staple? French Fries would be the staple if anything! Have you ever wondered why Diabetes is so rampant in the indigenous communities?
        Lets all of us move into Reality. This is 2014 and I have been fighting this crappy wild rice in front of our home and in the boat channels of our small bay for 10 years now! The rice stops the movement of water into the bay and the water becomes stinky and full of bacteria. We cannot even think of swimming or floating on airbeds in this bay now! The fish will die and this has been an excellent bass fishing bay in the past.

    • Excellent point and one I was thinking myself. There is a lot of selfish self interested people behind this whole campaign I think. How is free food for anyone willing to work for it a bad thing? I have eaten a lot of the wild rice from this lake and its one of the best foods I have ever had. makes for a good breakfast or dinner (little maple syrup, cook it extra mushy and its amazing). and it is extremely good for you. If I had enough money to have a water front property with wild rice growing or a beach I would put up a dock and swim from a boat.

  67. I spent my summers at achor bay campground and we loved it there please save pigeon lake for others to have great childhood momories

  68. I have spent my summers for 52 years enjoying our family cottage on this lake…..if there is anyway my family or I can be of assistance please let me know……we are on board…..let’s save this Lake!!!!!

  69. My family has been on this section of Pigeon Lake for 50 years. Wild rice beds are not native to this section of the lake and barely existed even 10 years ago. How can someone be allowed to seed land that does not belong to them. Please add me to your mail list. Would be happy to help in any way and will be attending the Oct. 14 Selwyn Council meeting.

  70. I totally agree that something needs to be done about the person seeding and harvesting the rice as though it were his own field. We live in Parkwood Shores and could not even see the rice bed 5 years ago. Now we have a lovely view of the mess. It is only going to get worse exponentially if we don’t do something about it NOW. People say that lakes can dredge for weeds…….Why not a rice bed that is a ‘weed’ that is going to take over the lake? We need to stand together to demand that something is done. I will be more than happy to sign any petition etc. that is necessary. Thumbs up to the people behind this initiative!

  71. Many of the lakes in the TSW are impacted by the rice. Our bay on Buckhorn Lake had lovely lily pads and yes, weeds. Now it is becoming a rice field. Making it not usable for water activities. Trying maneuver our kayaks and peddle boat is becoming impossible.

    We need to do something to improve the situation in all the lakes. Thank you to the individuals that have brought this concern forward and created a forum for dialogue that hopefully will lead to action.

  72. Pigeon Lake is slowly (and not so slowly now) disappearing. If we don’t stick together and make our govt reps do something about it, it will be gone forever. Greed rules all. It’s disgusting. Please add me to your list.

  73. My husband and I bought land at Lakeview Estates in 1969 and just loved it there.My children and grandchildren grew up there boating, water skiing, fishing and swimming. The lake was beautiful, very few weeds. now it is disgusting. I thought something should have been done years ago. Maybe now someone will hear the voices of the people . Big concern.
    Save our lakes.

  74. Stop the rice. Get rid of the rice…I have been camping on Pigeon Lake for the past 30 years. Loved the lake 10 years ago…hate the lake today. what a mess…In 5 more years Pigeon Lake will be gone unless we do something about it today.

  75. Add me to your list of those who are against this. How is it that this waterway has become ones’ cash crop? Not right nor fair. If I could, I would destroy the rice crop in a environmentally safe way so the future population can enjoy Pigeon Lake as I have. GREED is the enemy, shame on who ever he/she or they are.

  76. Pigeon Lake is not an individual’s farm, it is a water system that we all share and enjoy and actively try and keep clean. It is time to put a stop to the seeding and farming of rice in the lake before property values go down and people end up moving, which will have a drastic economic affect on the entire area and all from the actions and profits of one person.
    Please add me to your email list and lets all stand together not only to save the lake but all the towns on it that benefit from all the residence and visitors that love coming to Pigeon Lake.

  77. My husband and I have had a trailer in innismore for17yrs on pigeon lake and it was beautiful then. We had lots of fun time boating and taking the grandkids out waterskiing and swimming. Now the lake is nearly covered over with this rice and spoiling it for every one who is lucky to have a place near the lake. There is a lot of people who want to sell up and move away because of this,. It’s such a shame….

  78. This invasive activity has turned our lake into a field. How can it be accepted that the actions of one person(s) that can adversely affect so many be tolerated. It is time for action. Please add me to your email list.

    • Harvesting of wild rice does not promote it’s spread. In fact, by harvesting it, there is less seed left to regrow in successive years. That is how, in fact, First Nations peoples have helped to “maintain” this very important food. That is how they have maintained many of the “wilderness” that settlers discovered.

      When the U.S. was creating Yosemite National Park, they exiled all First Nations peoples that lived and gathered food there, so they would not “spoil” the wilderness. What happened was that the picturesque views they wanted to preserve became truly “wild” an unkempt. First Nations peoples have been modulating what Europeans have considered “wilderness”, for thousands of years.

      • In total agreement here. Pidgeon Lake falls under Treaty 20 (Williams Treaty) & after researching found out that ” it is part of the tract included in this treaty & is traditional territory for any First Nation who are a party to that treaty”!

  79. Please note that the area where the rice beds are developing is flooding farm land. Before 1880, this was just s creek. After the locks and dams were built in Bobcaygeon and Buckhorn the farmland on both sides of the creek was flooded.
    Pigeon Lake is a eutrophic lake with lots of sediment. It will become shallower and shallower over time as part of a natural process.
    Eric Sager at the James Oliver Centre located on the northern part of the lake has done much research on this issue. Also check the publications of Kawartha Lakes Stewards Association.

    • I completely agree with Everett Wylie and Chris Nahrgang, and reference Dr. Eric Sager (a knowledgeable scientist who specializes on this issue). Wild rice is a native and beneficial plant that has historically occupied the Pigeon River long before cottages were developed on the south end of Pigeon Lake.

      The question of whether native people have a right to harvest wild rice for profit is a social issue that I will not get in to, other than to say that it is a shame the TSW went through with a permit to remove large amounts of wild rice without consulting the Curve Lake First Nation’s people who have a right to utilize this historically cultural crop.

      Please consult the experts/literature before you voice your concern about your personal property and recreational values.

  80. 8 years ago we bought a property on the south end of pigeon lake, there were few weeds/rice at the time- but we could live with that. Since then, the rice has invaded the property to the extent that we can no longer swim in front of the property and need to take the boat to deep water for recreation purposes. If nothing is done, even those areas will be compromised. If we wanted a cottage on rice lake – we would have purchased there! Please put our name on the list for future communications.

    • Actually, Danielly, you should have bought ON Rice Lake. You can imagine why it was called that. But the cottagers who now dominate its shores have denuded it of it’s namesake. There is NO wild rice in Rice Lake, any more.

  81. We were just talking about this yesterday. Who is doing this and how are they allowed to do this ? I can’t believe how the rice has over taken the lake.
    Please add me to your mailing list
    Thank you

  82. Rice harvesting must be stopped. The rice in Pigeon Lake isn’t wild… it’s a cash crop. Pigeon Lake is not an individual’s farm, it is a natural system that we all share and enjoy. How can the interests of one person trump those of the many?

    Please add me to your email list.

  83. My husband and I have been living in Ennismore for 10 years and coming up to Grandview Park for another 20 years. We enjoyed a lot of years being out on the boat and taking our kids and grandchildren fishing, skiing and swimming. Now because of this rice we can’t do anything around our lake anymore. We have to travel to a clean area for recreation. We are now looking out at farmland instead of water. It is so unfortunate. This has all happened in the last 10 years. It was beautiful before that.

  84. I think the rice harvesting should be stopped. It used to be a pleasure to drive along Pigeon Lake Rd. and look at the lake. Now, it looks more like a swamp and I feel sorry for the people who live directly on the waterfront as there is no shoreline. They make a path through this mess to get out to the lake and there is no spot clear enough to even let little ones go wading. In our little beach area the rice has started encroaching and in a few years at this rate we will be left with no beach area. Please feel free to sign my name to anything that will help to stop the harvesting AND reseeding of the rice in Pigeon Lake. Also, my husband Robert White gives his permission to have his name used for the same purpose.

    • I’m confused here. You think it should be illegal for the people who are native to this area to harvest their traditional staple food so you can use the lake for your viewing gratification and nothing else?

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