June 21, 2021: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Logging Continues in Ada’itsx / Greater Fairy Creek Rainforest
and Other Old-Growth Areas
Despite public expectations that ancient forests have been saved, old-growth logging continues in the intact, adjacent forests surrounding Fairy Creek. Activists say the old-growth logging deferral announced June 9th has changed little.
While a temporary reprieve is in place for the Fairy Creek watershed itself, huge trees are still being cut down every day in the connected, surrounding forests on Pacheedaht ancestral territory.
“Most of the ancient forests are still not protected,” explains Carole Tootill, a spokesperson with Rainforest Flying Squad, the grassroots group that started the first blockade to protect old growth last August.
“Logging has not stopped. We are losing more irreplaceable old-growth trees every day. With RCMP using aggressive tactics against our blockades, yet more trees are likely to be extracted before the additional, promised deferrals are announced this summer,” she said.
Rainforest Flying Squad members are calling for more support to defend these last ancient stands. Logging has been ongoing in an area downslope from the ridgeline of Fairy Creek, near 2000 Road, after RFS’s blockade there was overwhelmed by RCMP. All six cut-blocks in Caycuse have been logged since the RFS blockade was defeated by RCMP.
“The deferral announcement gave a lot of people the idea that logging had halted in these areas,” adds Joshua Wright, another RFS spokesperson. “People thought the protests could relax — but that isn’t the case. Big trees are being felled every day.”
Wright adds: “The deferral is really more of a distraction than a protection. Our forest defence is able to protect some trees, but we need more forest protectors to keep these ancient trees standing, and make sure they’re protected forever. This is not the time to stand down.”
Satellite images from June 17 clearly show cutting in the remaining old growth. Since the deferral was announced, over 35 hectares have been logged in the Caycuse alone.
“What we are seeing is active clear-cutting in Camper Creek, as well as active cutting up the Road 2000 and in the Caycuse. Road building is continuing into the Bugaboo. Once the roads are built they will enable further clear-cutting of the area,” Wright said.
“Over 90 hectares of old-growth forest has been logged because of the RCMP’s enforcement. And that is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what is happening to old growth across the province.”
Despite the enforcement, blockades remain at most locations including Waterfall camp, Ridge camp, Walbran Camp, Sassin Camp and Helicopter Camp. These blockades remain as the last defense for ancient forests. Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones has invited Rainforest Flying Squad members to help him defend this land. Jones wants supporters to hold the camps until all of the old-growth is clearly protected. Until that happens, the Rainforest Flying Squad will remain in place.
There is a growing call for an end to old-growth logging throughout the province. In addition to Victoria, rallies have been held in Vancouver, Castlegar, Davis Bay on the Sunshine Coast, Kelowna, Prince George, Revelstoke, Toronto and even New York. A change.org petition, which calls for the end of old-growth logging in British Columbia and is endorsed by actor Mark Ruffalo, has climbed to just under 70,000 signatures. Meanwhile a recent poll commissioned by the Sierra Club of BC shows that 92% of British Columbians support protecting old growth.
A recently-released video by Stand.earth brings together Indigenous leaders, celebrities and scientists. Together they demand B.C. Premier John Horgan take urgent action to protect the last old-growth forests in British Columbia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
A public letter released last week on the same subject was signed by 120 prominent Canadians and international celebrities. https://www.cbc.ca/news/
***An interactive map of the greater Fairy Creek rainforest and deferral area is available by request.
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 and LastStandforForests work with other like-minded organizations. We stand in solidarity with Elder Bill Jones of the Pacheedaht Nation. More information at: laststandforforests.com.