The land that comprises today’s Kenogami Forest dates back to the Precambrian era (about 4 billion years ago). Precious metals and minerals along with other natural resources and abundant fauna are found here. Following the retreat of the glaciers approximately 7,000 years ago, the area now is home to a typical, fire-driven boreal forest ecosystem which has long sustained human presence starting with our First Nation’s people, the original inhabitants of this region.
The Kenogami Forest produces valuable timber/pulp tree species such as black spruce, white spruce, and jack pine in abundance, and to a lesser extent balsam fir, white birch and trembling aspen grow here. Other common tree species found in the Kenogami Forest include white cedar, tamarack and balsam poplar.
The landscape of the Kenogami forest and surrounding area was an economic driver long before forestry became a major industry. In the late 1600’s, when the first French voyagers reached this area, trading between First Nations people and settlers utilized the river systems of the forest to move goods and people. It wasn’t until the First World War and construction of the Canadian National Railway that forestry and mining became booming resource development sectors in the early 1900’s.
Through the years, numerous forestry and mining companies have appeared and departed in the region. In forestry, the first documented company on the Kenogami Forest was the Pulpwood Supply Company in the 1930’s. That company initiated the floating of pulpwood through lakes and rivers to Lake Superior. Later, the largest and longest running forestry company in the region, Longlac Pulp and Paper Co Ltd., began shipping wood to its local mills. They constructed the Terrace Bay Pulp and Paper Mill. Along with the Aguasabon Generating Station and Ontario Hydro water division, Longlac Pulp and Paper redirected the northward flowing Long Lake south through the Aguasabon River system to Lake Superior. Through corporate amalgamations, the Longlac Pulp and Paper Co Ltd changed its name several times over the decades and recently was known as Kimberly Clark Forest Products Ltd. before becoming Neenah Paper.
Mining has been another major natural resource industry in the area, including within the Kenogami Forest. Recently, mining has made a resurgence (particularly gold mining). Nedaak is committed to working with the mining industry to ensure safe and sustainable activities and access occur on the forest. Through sustainable management practices and the guidance our communities, Nedaak will ensure that the Kenogami Forest will be a valuable resource benefitting the residents of the area for many generations to come.