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Progress with kind words: Old growth blockade almost ready to pull out of Argonaut Creek

There are just two more cut blocks in the Argonaut Creek area that still need to be discussed
Old Growth Revylution has set up a blockade at the Bigmouth Forest Service Rd. north of Revelstoke to protest old growth logging in the region. (Contributed-Sadie Parr)

Within a week, Old Growth Revylution saw road builders pull out of the Argonaut Creek area and got word from a big player in the game, Downie Timber, that they won’t log in the area, for now.

Had this protest not taken place, there would have been logging in the area this summer, confirmed Nick Arkle, CEO of the Gormon Bros., who own Downie Timber.

It is a bit anti-climactic, compared to what you see at the Fairy Creek blockade, admitted Sarah Newton, a member of the group. The protesters didn’t have to stop any trucks or chain themselves to anything, as there isn’t currently any logging in the area, but their progress, with nothing but peaceful and kind words, is “quite incredible,” Newton said.

The group is nearly ready to pull out of the area and redirect their attention elsewhere, Newton said, however, there are still two cut blocks owned by BC Timber Sales, that aren’t in the Argonaut Valley but in neighbouring caribou habitat, that need to be protected before the group moves on.

Arkle said that Downie Timber is committed to having respectful dialogue and finding a made-in-Revelstoke solution. Their plans for the area are on hold while the Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel, which was created by the province in June 2021, to review old-growth deferrals, does their work.

READ MORE:B.C. appoints expert panel on further old-growth forest preservation

In November 2020, the ministry of forests deferred logging 11 of 14 cut blocks in the Argonaut Creek area until the mountain caribou herd planning process is complete. A recent comment from the ministry did not indicate a timeline for this project.

“This work will take time – as it must be done in consultation with First Nations listening to how they want to manage their land,” said a ministry spokesperson.

They confirmed that though there was no active logging in the Argonaut or Bigmouth area as of July 8, however, a road deactivation contractor was working on the Limekiln Forest Service Road at km 19.9 and a road maintenance contractor doing terrain stabilization work on the Argonaut FSR off Branch 21.5 km.

Old Growth Revylution hosted two protests in the city and announced on July 7, that they were erecting a blockade on the Bigmouth Forest Service Rd., which is around 120 km north of Revelstoke off of Highway 23.

READ MORE: B.C. declares state of emergency over wildfire season, preparing for potential ‘mass evacuation’

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