Last fall, the Sierra Club’s Vermont Chapter announced the Our Forests Our Future campaign (part of the national Sierra Club's Resilient Habitats campaign) to reconnect forests, initiate local management, and open up the woods to traditional uses such as hiking, fishing, and hunting. The ultimate goal is to create a mosaic of locally controlled forests that will link Vermont's Green Mountains with upstate New York's Adirondacks to the west, New Hampshire's White Mountains and Maine's North Woods to the east, and the mountains of Quebec to the north.
“We're moving forward by reaching out to non-traditional allies," notes chapter chair Zak Griefen. "This diversity gives us strength. We look forward to collaborating with both new and established allies to preserve and expand biological corridors throughout the state."
The campaign recently gained momentum with the backing of the Vermont Workers’ Center, which includes many affiliated labor unions like the 10,000-strong Vermont AFL-CIO. The Chapter and Center both support healthy people and healthy forests.
Additionally, the Chapter has partnerships with the Nulhegan and Elnu Abenaki Tribes. To ensure the voices of the the tribe members and local citizens are heard, the Chapter held regional meetings. Abenaki Tribe members voiced concerns about their right to hunt and fish in the town forests. The Chapter also heard from low-income individuals and the elderly on maintaining their right to harvest sustainable amounts of firewood.
The more diversified and local input, the stronger the campaign will be in reaching the overarching goal.
(Photo: Landscape shot of the Northeastern Kingdom. Courtesy Don Dickson.)