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Think about trees pleads local brickworker “Somebody took a head count towards the end and it was about 100,” Perrault, 62, said during a phone interview following the April 13 event. “I felt great. I really did. I wasn’t alone.”


Andy Perrault hopedmaybe a dozen people might join him for one last roadside rally in Vankleek Hill to protest clearcutting in the Prescott-Russell region. He got more company than expected.

Perrault’s trade is as a brickworker, spe- cializing in restoration work on Victorian- style houses. This past winter he has been occupied with a different restoration project.

Andy Perrault hoists the sign he has held up through the past winter to encourage passing motorists through Vankleek Hill to keep trees in mind for Prescott-Russell’s future. His last roadside vigil along Highway 34, near a clearcut site, saw close to 100 other people show up in support. —photo Gregg Chamberlain


For the past four months Perrault has stood on Highway 34 just on the northern outskirts of Vankleek Hill, holding up a sign reading “Save the Forests”. He’s been out there every day except when the forecast called for icy rain instead of snow. He didn’t mind the cold or the snow but he didn’t want to end up soaked and shivering from freezing rain. Perrault knows that some of the clearcut- ting going on around Prescott-Russell might be for expanding farmlands. He understands that farmers need land too, but he is concer- ned that there is toomuch clearcutting going on in the counties and not enough tree-plan- ting to either restore areas no longer used for farming or human occupation or replace trees cut down for development. “I’m not anti-farm,” he said, “but I am pro-tree. I represent the trees and the wildlife and the water, because they don’t have a voice.”

Perrault observed that deforestation should be everyone’s concern. Lack of adequate tree cover can contribute to soil erosion, affect wildlife and fish habitats, and even affect local underground wells. “The land is like an old car,” he said. “She’s pretty tired, and we’ve been hard on her. But instead of slowing down, we just keep hitting at her. There’s too much collateral damage then.” Now that spring has returned, Perrault is putting his sign away and getting ready to get back to his regular trade of brickwork resto- ration on Victorian-style homes. He hopes his one-man protest, this past winter, has helped make more people think about the environment throughout Prescott-Russell and the rest of the province. “If nothing’s changed, I’ll go back next winter and do the same thing,” he said, with a chuckle. “I want to be a thorn in someone’s side.”

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