In 2012 the Saskatchewan Forestry Management made plans to ‘sustainably harvest’ trees in the central & northern regions over a period of twenty (20) years. In actuality it is more like ‘clear cut’ than ‘harvest’ and causing more ‘damage’ rather than ‘sustaining’. These regions include Crutwell, Holbein, Shellbrook, Canwood, Big River, Meadow Lake, RM of Buckland, Nisbet Forestry (both sides of the river), Montreal Lake, Weyakwin, Fort LA’ Corne, MacDowall & Duck Lake. This includes all surrounding Treaty Lands/Crown Lands & forestry covered areas within these regions. There has also been the selling of Crown Lands, within these regions & the building of a power station or water pumping station within the Forestry Management area of Buckland. This building has already been erected west of Prince Albert.
How are they able to do these things without people being properly being made aware? Did they meet with the people of these regions or just the leaders? Have they had proper consultations with the people to see how the removal of the forestry has had an impact on them? Especially the grass roots people. It is only now, 10 years later, that I am witnessing and hearing of these plans. Where was my consultation in these matters? Who else is pondering these same questions?
In my view, the forest is a learning place. How will this be possible if the trees are clear cut & the land is destroyed because of it? How will people be able to take relaxing drives and see nature in its true state and beauty? To watch animals in their natural habitat? To feel the peace & serenity that the forest has to offer? The different sorts of berries, that are harvested each year, will be destroyed. Plant life & vegetation will be uprooted. Animals that burrow in the ground, take shelter or shade within the trees will move to more sustaining areas. Animal burrows do not only provide shelter but helps the earth to breathe. Natural fallen trees are recycled into the earth, providing rich nutrients back into the ground for new growth. Live trees help to keep moisture within the earth.
What will become of the hidden history within the forests? What secrets will be destroyed? Heavy equipment & machinery used for tree removal and ‘harvesting’ of the trees, destroys or scatters any evidence of possible archaeology & pre-settlement evidence. For example, buffalo pounds or jump areas, the upper and lower Hudson Houses Forts within Shellbrook region, on the north side of the Saskatchewan river. These are just two of the many examples of hidden history lost and rediscovered within the forests.
While sharing my thoughts & views with others in this paper I ask again, “how could the ‘harvesting’, more like ‘clear cutting’, be good for the forestry?” How are so many people unaware of these happenings with the forestry and the deforestation?
Hopefully by sharing this article with others, I am able to make people aware of just how important of a role our forestry is to us all. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Herman Campbell is a retired hunter and trapper who lives in the Crutwell area.
By Herman Campbell