South Island Resistance

Friday, January 22, 2021
Stopping road building and logging in old-growth forest at Fairy Creek Ridge Blockade Camp, August 2020. Photo: Rainforest Flying Squad
Stopping road building and logging in old-growth forest at Fairy Creek Ridge Blockade Camp, August 2020. Photo: Rainforest Flying Squad

The frontline fight to save old-growth on Southern Vancouver Island is strong and growing

The movement to protect old-growth forests on Vancouver Island is years in the making, but the past six months have seen the largest on the ground resistance in two decades. 

Since early August, grassroots forest defenders frustrated with the slow pace of government action to protect non-renewable old-growth forests, have organized half a dozen different forest camps and watch stations on southwest Vancouver Island. This area, which includes Fairy Creek, the Gordon River and the iconic Walbran Valley (or Kaxi:ks) is the unceded territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation. 

The logging is done by controversial Surrey-based company Teal Jones, who holds a license over most of this area called Tree Farm License 46 (TFL46).

logs
Photo: WC
blast
Photo: WC
Old-growth logging by Teal Jones in the Caycuse Valley, October, 2020 (3 photos)
Old-growth logging by Teal Jones in the Caycuse Valley, October, 2020 (Photos above)

Forest defenders with the Rainforest Flying Squad and other community groups have successfully blocked industrial access to build roads and log ancient forests here in Premier John Horgan’s own riding. It is the longest standing blockade on the Island since the “War In The Woods” in Clayoquot Sound and the Walbran in the 1990s. 

PortRenfrewArea_Old-GrowthLoggingBlockades_Map
Map of the blockades

A paradigm shift

Right now is a pivotal moment in history in the fight to protect the last old-growth forests in BC. 

Last year, in response to public pressure, the BC government ordered a review of its broken forest policies, which resulted in a call for ‘paradigm shift’ in forest management and 14 recommendations to protect old-growth. In turn, Horgan made an election promise to implement these recommendations and protect remaining old-growth forests. 

But talk is cheap. It’s time for immediate action to address this crisis, and now is the time to hold the BC government accountable and fight for ancient forests to be put aside permanently.

The movement to save the last of the ancient forests on Vancouver Island is growing significantly, with more and more people taking action in new and creative ways — in the woods, on the streets and online. Click here to take action!

The public is aware of how little time there is to protect non-renewable old-growth forests, and we are calling on the government to wake up to that as well.

While not involved in organizing the ongoing blockades on the South Island, the Wilderness Committee has visited the blockades and documented the forests they protect throughout the last several months. We’ve been on the ground connecting with activists and Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones when possible, in keeping with ongoing COVID-19 protocols. Connect with Rainforest Flying Squad for more information.

Visiting the blockades with Pacheedaht Elder, Bill Jones. This new road building into old-growth forest was stopped by forest defenders near Bugaboo Creek, December, 2020
Visiting the blockades with Pacheedaht Elder, Bill Jones. This new road building into old-growth forest was stopped by forest defenders near Bugaboo Creek, December, 2020

 

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