The fight over logging on Native lands has reached an explosive new high in Northern Ontario.

A bridge crossing the Temagami River about 75 km northwest of North Bay was blown up in late August. No one was injured. A Native group, the Ma-Kominsing Anishinawbeg Tribal Group, has claimed responsibility.

A fire was set at another bridge nearby the next day, but it was extinguished before it caused serious damage.

After years of blockades and protests against logging and mining exploration in the old-growth forest, the Ontario government of Mike Harris has approved the logging of 35 per cent of Temagami’s forest beginning this month.

Mining companies are allowed to stake claims in some parts of the region starting Sept 17. “It’s not surprising that people are getting pissed off,” a local environmentalist told reporters.

“It is symptomatic of people’s frustrations at this.”