To the Editor:
For many people who read this article there were lots of triggering statements. Let’s see if some can be unpacked. First of all, the areas that we have chosen to blockade are not only old growth forest, but they are also core habitat for the critically endangered mountain caribou, and those same areas are noted federally and provincially under SARA (Species at Risk ACT) as places that should not be logged.
Secondly, on the point of accessing machinery for wildfire work there seems to be a misunderstanding. At the Bigmouth blockade we informed the company that we would not allow them to return to work to continue road building into the old growth forest on Argonaut Creek. However, our policy is to allow equipment to be accessed and pulled from sites. This was communicated to the company and happened a couple days later. Soon after, that same equipment was building a new road into old growth caribou habitat in Nagle Creek area. Once again the road building crew was prevented from continuing their road work and access was given to pull out their equipment. At this time they informed us that the bulldozer would be used for fighting wildfires.
Thirdly, in the article we see mention of all the jobs that might be lost if we stop logging old growth. We believe the forestry sector should be frustrated on this point too, not at blockaders, but at the last few decades of government inaction to make our forestry industry sustainable. Washington and Oregon are models that could be followed, not to mention northern Europe.
We have been negotiating, sitting on committees, writing letters for many years, the fact remains that the government continues to allow old growth logging in critically important habitats. Sadly where we are blockading, is just that, and it doesn’t even seem to matter that is it identified as critical caribou habitat. These fires are a prime example of how we must start transitioning immediately away from the current models of resource extraction.
Next is the point about RCFC; they have not been impacted by our actions. It is BCTS and Downie who are road building and logging in the areas where we have blockades. People have also commented that we should be protesting in front of the Legislature in Victoria. That is being done on weekends and now around the clock.
The reason for the blockades is that those protests in Victoria don’t stop the trees from being cut down right now. We can protest, write letters, sit on committees until the cows come home, and the trees will still be cut down unless we stop the logging at its source.
Also mentioned in the article is the discussion about the age of old growth forest in our area. While there are many areas that are planned to be logged and can be defined as old growth (over 140 years in the interior) the areas of most concern are ones that are valley bottoms that hold rich areas of biodiversity and areas that are habitats for endangered species. One can look on Google maps of the Goldstream, Downie, Bigmouth, and Wood River drainages to see the large amount of logging activity in these areas.
Lastly, we have seen a few comments talking about how the blockaders don’t know what they are talking about, that we are not from town, that we don’t care about people. We can understand people’s frustration with the situation, it’s truly awful to have anxiety where your next pay cheque is going to come from. It’s a real concern, and we lay the blame, once again, at the feet of the provincial government who have known for decades that current practices were not sustainable.
We have more to do with our time than hang out on some logging road, and we didn’t pull our information out of thin air. We are relying on biologists and forest ecologists, many of whom work for the government. The government commissioned Strategic Review of Old Growth Forests of April 30, 2020 calls on the government to implement a paradigm shift on how we value and manage our forests before our old growth forests are gone.
There are also many recent articles that are alerting us to the imminent collapse of our Inland Temperate Rainforest if current forestry practices do not change.
We have no vested interest in the outcome, other than trying to have a future for all our children. We have no hidden agenda, no profit to be made from making life difficult for others. We are trying to protect the last remnants of a globally unique ecosystem for future generations of humans and other living creatures.
We want to thank all our supporters for their support. It has been heartwarming to see people from all walks of life come together now to protect what is left and leave a legacy for tomorrow. We also would like to thank the Revelstoke Review who are trying to give space to all aspects of this complex issue.
Old Growth Revylution
Submit your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.