December 30, 2013

The Marathon Gap Filler Annex

Neys Provincial Park, Ontario 
Believe to be located in Neys Provincial Park, the exact location of the Marathon Gap Filler Annex is presumed to be the location of a current commercial antenna tower, which can be seen from the Google Maps satellite imagery.  What exactly remains is unknown, I would expect foundations, and perhaps evidence of a fence.
It's worth mentioning that this site, while remote, does have a fully functioning campground nearby, and therefore may have physical security at the entrance to the access road that leads up the mountain (like a farm gate).  I was pleasantly surprised that wasn't the case at Mont Ste Marie, and similarly, I hope there are no barricades here either.  The road to the top of 5 Kilometres of dirt road, but I know it has to be passable by some kind of full size maintenance vehicle, so travel in a 3/4 ton Suburban must be possible.  4WD may be required.  Worst case, I can walk it!

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The Oba Gap Filler Annex

Oba, Ontario
This could be called The Grudge. During my 2012 Northern Ontario trip I didn't quite get to the Oba GFA, but now know how to get there, so the next time should be much easier than the last time. From where the Suburban will be able to get it's about a 5Km hike to the top of the hill where the two Steelox buildings and 100,000 gallon fuel tank should be.

The dotted line below shows what I will need to traverse on foot, and most of the path is actually an old logging road, now likely used by hunters and such. On the far side of the tracks the road is the original Gap Filler Annex access road. As there was a fire tower at the location, I expect the road will still be cleared of scrub, and shouldn't have any obstacles or wash outs. The distance is ~7.5 Kilometres from the green dot (safe parking spot) and the red circle (the Oba Gap Filler Annex). From the reconnaissance I did in 2012, I can tell you, this is the least problematic way to access the site, unless you know some one who can get you a lift with CN freight or VIA Rail and drop you at the Neswabin siding (and if you do - get in touch!).

Don't believe me?  Think there's a better way?  Here is the Google satellite view AND Bing view; show me a better way that doesn't involve a water crossing.  Also, the rail line is extremely active with steep gravel embankments on either side of the track - there's no way to "walk along the track" (legally or illegally)

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Nipigon Gap Filler Annex

Nipigon, Ontario
Located 14 Kilometres off the pavement, West of Nipigon, on the top of a hill, is likely where the Nipigon Gap Filler Annex was located.  There is at least one active antenna tower on the site today, and therefore the access road must be in good enough condition for maintenance crews to pass.  It's hard to judge the condition of the entire road without visiting the site, or knowing if there is a "farm gate" blocking vehicular access

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Belleterre GFA

Belleterre, Quebec
Belleterre is a community originally based on a gold rush.  While the mine closed down decades ago, it seems with the higher price of Gold renewed interest in the previously uneconomical veins has been rekindled.  I'm not sure if the mine is active today, or if they're still looking for the best vein to explore.
The geology is less interesting to me than the location of a Gap Filler Site, 50% constructed by ~1963, on a nearby mountain top.  Local reports indicate the foundations remain, potentially some original telephone poles, and some of the original perimeter fence.  The location is still used for antennas today, and the satellite photos show two buildings standing (as well as something in the woods to the East...)

Belleterre Gap Filler Annex

Timmins GFA

Timmins, ON
What remains of the Timmins Gap Filler Site is being put to good use by the Kamiskotia Snow Resort; the generator building and the tower are still standing - it's a great example of reusing and re-purposing buildings.  The mixed-use Gap Filler tower was built there in the early 1960s, and the dual purpose fire tower / radar tower is still standing. I was able to park at the bottom and climb to the top.  A Jeep using 4WD or ATV would be able to make it up the hill in the summer, but I'm not sure if the owners of the ski hill would appreciate it.

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Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Manitouwadge Gap Filler Annex

Manitouwadge, ON
From the satellite and available photos I'm not sure what is left of the Manitouwadge GFA.  There looks like there is a well maintained road and a modern antenna on the top of the hill, so I assume the road is used actively for maintenance of the gear which is still up there, and should be passable. Manitouage was never completed, but it's positioning was attractive to future communications needs, and now has some kind of commercial tower at the location.  This is very handy for me, as the road needs to have a degree of maintenance for crews to service the tower.

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