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Nulhegan Abenaki Call for Tribal Forests to Conserve Wildlife Corridors

September 30, 2011

September 29, 2011

Sierra Club & Abenaki Forest Campaign Takes Center Stage at Vermont Climate Rally


Moving Planet Rally in Montpelier, VT

More than 1,500 Vermonters rallied in the state capital of Montpelier to demand action on climate change and support community forests, green (union) jobs, energy-efficient homes and buildings, renewable energy, local/healthy food, and green

“This was quite possibly the largest environmental demonstration in the history of the Green Mountain State,” said Sierra Club organizer David Vandeusen. The event, held in conjunction with the Moving Planet day of action, was organized by Vermont and co-sponsored by the Vermont Sierra Club. More than 2,000 Moving Planet rallies were held in more than 175 countries around the globe in support of a transition beyond fossil fuels.

Club leaders also gave the governor a list of recommended actions that would greatly increase the number of conservation-oriented community forests over the next decade and beyond. The ultimate goal of Our Forests Our Future, which now has the support of organized labor and tribal partners, is to establish wildlife migrationcorridors running the length and breadth of the state, from the New Hampshire to the New York border.


Zak and David with Senator Sanders

In addition to Governor Shumlin, speakers included Senator Sanders, above at right with Griefen and Ellenbogen, Mike Morelli of the Iron Workers Local 7 (in support of green jobs), and Luke Willard, below, former Chief of the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe and now Vermont Commissioner of Native American Affairs.


Vermont Indian Affairs Commissioner & Nulhegan Abenaki, Luke Willard

Willard addressed the crowd on behalf of the Nulhegan Abenaki, the Vermont Sierra Club, and the Our Forests Our Future campaign—Vermont’s component of the Club’s broader Resilient Habitats campaign to protect the Adirondacks to Acadia ecoregion.

“Our Forests Our Future was not conceived in the policies and procedures of bureaucracy; it was not conceived in the halls of government; it was not conceived in the offices of the corporate lobby,” said Willard. “This vision was developed at community tables all over the state and customized by Vermonters who provide stewardship in these most crucial of regions.”

Rather than seeking to increase federal land acquisitions or asking the state to buy more land, Our Forests Our Future would establish a mosaic of town- and tribal-owned conservation forests in key wildlife corridors.

“Our locally-owned tribal and community forest model will benefit our communities socially, economically, and culturally,” Willard said, “providing firewood to those who need it most, sustainable logging revenue and jobs, cooperative maple sugaring, hunting, fishing, gathering, and green agriculture.”

Watch a video of Willard’s speech, click on the image below.

The Sierra Club’s Adirondacks to Acadia campaign seeks to link the forests of
Maine’s North Woods, New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Vermont’s Green Mountains,
and New York’s Adirondacks. Wildlife corridors in Vermont, comprised of local,
state, and national forest lands, would stretch from the northern Connecticut
River Valley to the Nulhegan Basin and from the northern Green Mountains to the
New York border.

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