Revelstoke was one of the communities across B.C. that staged a protest urging the province to protect at-risk old-growth ecosystems from logging and to establish a new forestry framework.
Approximately 30 communities took part in this year’s Forest March BC, a grassroots initiative alarmed by provincial inaction regarding protecting old-growth forests.
“We’re not anti-logging, we just want the industry to be more sustainable,” said protester Arnoul Mateo.
Roughly 10 people marched through downtown Revelstoke on March 19. Some held signs to halt old-growth logging and others to protect the Argonaut drainage.
Logging operations in the Argonaut Valley north of Revelstoke were paused last year due to concerns raised by conservation groups. While no logging is planned in the valley while the assessment is underway, various conservation groups have begged the province to permanently protect the region’s caribou, an endangered species.
Protesters taking part in the Forest March want more localized input into individual forestry issues at play in their region, said Mateo.
“There is an illusion of abundance in B.C. when it comes to both our forests and the jobs created by the forestry industry. But in actuality, our wilderness – along with the jobs that have historically depended on its logging – have been corroding under the pressures of an inequitable and unsustainable industry,” said Forest March BC spokesperson Hania Peper in a news release.
Forest March BC said provincial forestry jobs have plunged since 1990 by 52 per cent.
“That’s why it’s essential that the provincial government introduce legislation that meaningfully involves communities in decision-making processes while prioritizing proven eco-forestry practices,” said Peper.
According to the conservation group Ancient Forest Alliance, only three per cent of old-growth forest remain in B.C. The province considers trees to be old-growth if they are more than 250 years old.
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