January/February 2011 issue
War for the woods (Page 1 of 5)
Environmentalists on one side, the forestry industry on the other. How did two groups with different aims call a truce and sign the historic Boreal Forest Agreement?
By Rick Boychuk with photography by Tobin Grimshaw
We’re sailing over a sea of green that rolls and heaves as far as the eye can see. Gusts of wind buffet our little airship as we circle lakes and dip into river valleys, following caribou trails and meandering moose deep in the boreal woods north of Cochrane, Ont. A late-August sun has burned off the morning mists and is spotlighting a rainbow of green, from the heathery colour of lichen to the emerald of new growth and the fire-black greens of Jack pine.
In the front seat, beside the pilot of our Bell Long Ranger helicopter, is Janet Sumner, who looks like a hip, middle-aged schoolteacher. The daughter of a plumber from London, Ont., she has a degree in physics from the University of Western Ontario and an abiding affection for urban life. Sumner is the executive director of one of the big players in environmental politics in Ontario, the Wildlands League, which is the provincial chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.