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What’s in a name?

Dear editor:

Every other week in my column, you hear me mention the words Sunset Country to describe our region.

I also write fishing-related stories for various publications across North America, and in many of these I refer to Northwestern Ontario as Sunset Country.

I’ll even go so far as to say that if you look through a variety of outdoor magazines, you will hear other authors (some not even from this region) refer to Sunset Country—usually when they are describing the awesome fishing opportunities we have here.

Recently, the province proposed a re-organization of Ontario’s travel regions, including the recommendation to merge Sunset Country with the North of Superior area to our east.

I was shocked when I read this because Sunset Country is so ingrained in my mind as it is in people from all over the U.S. and Canada, especially those who visit our region on a regular basis.

When you talk about Lake of the Woods, Lac Seul, Eagle Lake, or Rainy Lake, people everywhere know they are located in Ontario’s Sunset Country.

Despite the economic challenges these days, tourism throughout our region remains steady, especially when compared to other regions in Ontario and Canada. The Sunset Country brand, and the people working to promote it, are part of the reason for this.

The other is the Ministry of Natural Resources staff in our region who have done a good job at working to create some of the finest fishing opportunities in the world—despite the difficulties in implementing new rules and regulations that have to be approved by people not from our region.

When people hear the words walleye, musky, and moose, I truly believe many of them think of Sunset Country, as well they should.

Furthermore, other regions of Ontario do not offer the same opportunities as Sunset Country and should not get the promotion our area kicks out.

Don’t get me wrong, between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie are some great fishing opportunities, but they are different than ours. They have some trout and salmon opportunities that we don’t, but they don’t have the bass and crappie populations we do.

They have walleye, pike, and musky options, but they are not the same as ours. And they don’t have the famous waters that we do—a status that “Woods,” Rainy, Wabigoon, and many others have obtained over many years.

Regardless of what the province decides to do, people in Northwestern Ontario should be proud that they live in Sunset Country. We have tremendous natural resources on the best playing fields in the province—and for that we’re lucky.

You will hear me describe this as Sunset Country for many years to come!

(Signed),

Jeff Gustafson

Kenora, Ont.

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