BC Government Announcement One Small Step to End Old Growth Logging in BC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 9, 2021
Despite today’s announcement by the Province of British Columbia, deferring logging in key areas in Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran, protesters will remain in the Fairy Creek Area.
Large-scale logging could still occur in old-growth forest directly adjacent to Fairy Creek, and in parts of the Central Walbran not included in the deferral. Because of this, the Rainforest Flying Squad protesters will remain in place and will consult with Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones on next steps.
“The announcement today is a promising start to protecting old-growth forests in British Columbia,” says Saul Arbess, a member of Rainforest Flying Squad. “It’s a welcome change to see the province responding to this request from First Nations, and giving them the time to develop a plan that works for them.
“It’s a good deferral,” he added, “however it falls short of the deferrals required to pause logging in all of the critically endangered areas currently being defended, for generations to come.”
In Fairy Creek watershed itself, the deferral only impacts one km of approved road building at the headwaters. However, in the greater adjacent, intact rainforest area surrounding Fairy Creek, currently 40 hectares of old growth logging and over five km of road building is already approved.
“If the province is only protecting the Fairy Creek watershed, then British Columbia is basically only deferring one km of road building for two years, and that’s it,” explained Joshua Wright, as Teal Jones does not yet have logging permits for the watershed itself.
“They’re not stopping any of the roadbuilding or old-growth logging in the connected, intact forests just outside of the basin of Fairy Creek watershed.”
This larger, intact area is the home of an irreplaceable ecosystem, which is essential habitat for bears, elk and other large mammals, which are endangered by the continued fracturing and erosion of their habitat.
The new deferral in the Central Walbran only impacts 14.6 of the 21.6 hectares of old-growth logging approved in the Central Walbran, and only impacts 0.5 km of the 4.3 km of approved road building in the central valley.
Wright said it appears that a substantial amount of road-building would still be permitted within adjacent areas of the Walbran. Road-building opens access for poachers of trees and animals, and causes sedimentation to wash into creeks and rivers, which is known to damage fish reproduction.
In his press conference the Premier stated that “all of the old growth” in the Central Walbran and Fairy Creek would be protected. If Premier Horgan had been serious about protecting these areas this would have included a 2,080-hectare deferral at Fairy Creek (containing the entire rainforest contiguous with the valley) and a 2,600 hectare deferral in the Central Walbran, said Wright.
About Rainforest Flying Squad
The Rainforest Flying Squad is a volunteer-driven, grassroots, non-violent direct action movement committed to protecting the last stands of globally significant ancient temperate rainforest on Vancouver Island. Rainforest Flying Squad works in partnership with LastStandforForests and other like-minded organizations, and stands in solidarity with Elder Bill Jones of the Pacheedaht Nation.