Economic development is a powerful and necessary force to create employment and prosperity in any community. Even when a huge pollution source like the Keweenaw Bay pulp mill was proposed there were some in the community who were willing to trade environmental degradation of our waters and forests for the jobs the mill would bring.
The concept of sustainable development, encouraging industries that preserve or improve environmental quality while still providing good employment was then only emerging. FOLK initiated a report titled “Investing in the Keweenaw’s Future–Moving Towards Sustainable Development” that addressed opportunities for using our forests to provide employment, in ways that would not degrade the environment. Many of these ideas were value-added approaches, breaking with the typical pattern of rural areas exploiting their raw material base to depletion for the benefit of those far-removed from the community. This report has been widely cited as a pioneering study in regional sustainable development planning. A PDF version is available as an executive summary or in its entirety: “Investing in the Keweenaw’s Future–Moving Towards Sustainable Development”