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Sudbury Aviation page 5

Story and photos by Robert S. Grant

When asked to describe the greatest challenge to keeping a five-airplane company so successful, Margaret dismissed the seven-day-a-week, dawn-to-dusk days. She also neglected to mention the long, sleepy hours travelling to sports shows across the United States each winter to promote Northern Trails Outpost Camps. Instead, the biggest hurdle to maintaining the present pace of Sudbury Aviation appears to be “staying remote.”

Unlimited road access and clear-cutting of the forests could prove disastrous for northern Ontario tourist-oriented organizations. Phrases such as “enjoy peace and tranquility”, “relax in solitude” and “a memorable northern experience”, which Margaret favours in her web site and brochures, would become meaningless. Trucks, camp builders without permits and ATVs scarifying the hinterland would mean the end of pristine bush country, and, Marg admits, she has already lost more than one camp to so-called “progress.”

“I’m on local citizens’ committees where we work to make sure that timber companies aren’t going to put me or any of the other 125 outfitters around here out of business,” she stressed. “We won’t allow it. They’re not just our lakes, they’re everybody’s and anyone’s who’s willing to fly into remote, secluded situations.”

Today, from the white-sided cottage office on the north shore of Whitewater Lake, Margaret Watson Hyland watched company pilot Gary Pitre preflight Cessna 172 C‑FQEK. Moments later, she settled into a well-worn, three-seat couch facing a pine coffee table overloaded with aviation magazines as well as the November 1999 Playboy. On one wall, stuffed pickerel and pike stared down, and on a bookshelf to the left, a stylistic Concorde model seemed out of place among Beaver photos, crests and models.

The Sault Ste. Marie teenager who graduated from high school so long ago was exactly where she wanted to be. As she matured, Margaret retained a sincere appreciation of Northern Ontario’s serene backwoods lakes. Living a special lifestyle, she has no intention of slowing down.

“I’d guess that 90% of people working in the mines [of the Sudbury area] go in hating their job. Few of us really enjoy what we do. We’re fortunate here–and having fun too,” she concluded. |

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