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Sudbury chapter helps defend the Benny Forest

Save the Benny Forest

The Council of Canadians Sudbury chapter is supporting efforts to save the Benny Forest.

Chapter activist Andre Clement tells us, “The forest is located approximately sixty kilometers, north of Sudbury. Logging operations have been slated for two large tracts of land that are considered by some to be part of contested traditional lands that were not clearly surveyed at the time of treaty negotiations. An earlier agreement had intended to postpone logging operations until a resolution to the dispute, but operators were discovered starting preparations for winter logging. The chapter supports the protest to protect a significant part of the diminishing Boreal Forest that stretches across the northern hemisphere.”

Last Saturday (Feb. 27), the chapter helped members of the Whitefish First Nation set up their winter camp in the forest. Clement notes, “The winter vigil is considered a difficult and courageous one, given the below zero weather we can expect for the weeks to follow. Our hearts and minds will be with them during the cold winter nights and the long winter days.”

Clement also highlights, “Clear-cut logging devastates the harvested area as well as the surrounding ecology. Refurbishing operations that may occur after the fact all too frequently include the use of chemical pesticides that threaten nearby watershed, creeks and rivers.”

In August 2015, the Sudbury Star reported, “The spraying of herbicides on replanted forests is raising alarm among First Nations people from west of Blind River to north of Cartier. …The Vermilion Forest Management Company maintains the two types of herbicide it applies — a glyphosate of the Roundup family and a Garlon product — only target vegetation that competes with the planted pines and won’t poison water or enter the food chain. …Opponents point out glyphosate has been classified as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ by the World Health Organization, and cite research indicating both it, and the triclopyr-based Garlon product, can have dire consequences for fish and frogs.”

That article adds, “[Clyde] McNichol [who introduces youth to traditional bushcraft skills] said a number of native families settled in Benny and there are burial spots that he’s determined to protect from logging activities. …’I’m not going to let them walk over us and our families’ graves.’ …[He] worries the wilderness won’t be preserved much longer if the current timbering pattern continues. ‘It’s not just about me and my native rights’, he said of his campaign to preserve the Benny forest, noting there is strong support among Geneva Lake cottagers and residents to curtail timbering and spraying.”

For more, please see the Save the Benny Forest Facebook page here.

Further reading
Kent County chapter collects signatures to ban the spraying of glyphosate (Feb. 21, 2016)
Victoria chapter rallies outside courthouse against logging in Walbran Valley (Jan. 4, 2016)
Port Alberni chapter opposes logging in old-growth forest (July 21, 2014)
New Brunswick chapters defend the forest (May 18, 2014)