A blockade to protect rare old-growth forest
Old-growth forest in BC with large, old, large trees is becoming rare; according to an independent study released in June, 2020, there is a much smaller amount remaining of the old-growth forest that contains large, old trees than the BC government admits. “We’re talking a tiny fraction of a fraction. We’ve basically logged it all,” said Rachel Holt, one of the authors of the study, entitled B.C.’s Old Growth Forest: A Last Stand for Biodiversity. Holt is quoted in a Narwhal article on the topic also first published in June.
As truckloads of ancient trees are hauled out of BC forests, more activists protest the ongoing harvest of old-growth, both in caribou habitat in the BC interior, and also for remaining old-growth stands on Vancouver Island.
A press release from an activist group called the “Rain4est Flying Squad” draws attention to new roads being built to facilitate logging another area of ancient trees on the Island. The release notes that the logging company’s latest management plan for TFL 46 lists as one of their harvesting objectives "To provide a balanced flow of old-growth and second-growth timber in each decade until the available old-growth timber has been exhausted. "
For the full text of the Rain4est Flying Squad press release, read on:
(Pacheedaht territory): The Rain4est Flying Squad creates new blockade to prevent road-building into the last ancient forests of Bugaboo Creek.
This Monday, December 7, grassroots forest activists with the Rain4est Flying Squad, with an invitation from Pacheedaht nation elder Bill Jones, mobilized under heavy rainfall to halt the falling of dense stands of 500- 800 year old Western Red and Yellow cedars, towering hemlocks and Amabilis fir for an extended road incursion into a 300 hectare ancient rainforest at 2400 feet elevation near Walbran valley, slated for clear-cut logging.
At dawn, road building crews were met with a bus parked and banners stretched across the roadway, and were turned away by eight activists who had set up camp overnight Sunday prepared to protect the forest for as long as it takes to prevent road-building.
Over the past week Stone Pacific logging crews had built the first few hundred meters of a 2.5 kilometre road network, cutting and blasting through prime rare ancient forest habitat on steep slopes abounding with streams, Tall-bush blueberry, Devil's Club and giant trees, rare for that elevation.
This road network is the latest in a series of new road approvals in Tree Farm License 46 that are targeting the very last patches of old- growth forests on the South Island. “If we don't stop them Teal Jones will likely log all of the remaining old growth forests in TFL 46 in the next 3 to 5 years” said Joshua Wright, one of the activists who initially alerted fellow activists to the road-building into the Bugaboo. In the latest management plan for TFL 46 the company lists the following as one of their ‘harvesting objectives’: "To provide a balanced flow of old-growth and second-growth timber in each decade until the available old-growth timber has been exhausted. "
Forest activists are buoyed by the leadership of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) who have voiced strong support for the “First Nations and allies who are protesting the negligent logging and clear-cutting practices enabled by the BC government that have … pushed Vancouver Island’s old-growth forests to the brink of collapse.”
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Resolution No. 2020-23 Re: “Implementation of an Old Growth Strategy that Protects First Nations’ Welfare and Endangered Old Growth Forests” calls on the NDP government to stop old growth logging immediately and implement the 14 recommendations of the Old-Growth Strategic Review. “It makes no sense to have a protracted dialogue if, at the end of it, we discover the old-growth is gone.” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs in a recent article in the Narwhal.
Despite their promises to the contrary, Premier Horgan and the NDP continue to sanction the destruction of these last old-growth forests, losing sight of the critical role they play in harbouring biodiversity and as critical carbon sinks in the role of buffering against runaway climate change.
The Rain4est Flying Squad is demanding that:
*The government declare an immediate moratorium on all old growth logging, at least pending the delivery of its old-growth forest policy, expected in 2 years.
*The provincial government move immediately on their 2020 election promise to implement the 14 recommendations of the Old-Growth Strategic Review.
*The government immediately shift all forestry operations to sustainable management of the silvicultural land-base as a source of long-term employment in local and First Nations communities.
Until that happens the Rain4est Flying Squad will continue disrupting business as usual in the daily destruction of these irreplaceable ancient forests.
To read the Old-Growth Strategic Review, click this link. It’s an informative document.