A group of old-growth logging protesters near Port Renfrew have added a new blockade at a nearby site.
On Monday (Dec. 7), six activists stood their ground along Bugaboo Creek to stop Surrey-based logging company Teal Jones Group from clear-cut logging in the area.
A 30-minute drive from Port Renfrew, the area that is being blockaded, holds Western red and yellow cedars that are hundreds of years old. A small group has also maintained blockades at Fairy Creek, where the same logging company operates, just a 20-minute drive away.
Organizer Joshua Wright, who’s kept protesters informed remotely while based in the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, said protesters were able to turn away road-building crews with their bus and banners on Sunday.
“If we keep going down this path, there most likely won’t be any old-growth forests in the next three to five years,” said the 17-year-old.
“We’re not against stopping all logging because we care about timber communities, but we want the work to be sustainable and to benefit local and First Nations communities. The B.C. government has let its people down, and it’s time to take matters into our own hands.”
The group has dubbed themselves Rain4est Flying Squad and has been keeping close contact with Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones, who has been supporting the group since they first started a blockade at Fairy Creek in August.
“It breaks my heart in half when I see these last remaining stands being ravaged so a few people can have jobs for a few more months,” said Jones in a social media post last September. He goes on to express his hope that more Indigenous activists would join in the efforts to protect “these sacred lands.”
The group has three demands for the provincial government.
Firstly, it wants B.C. to declare an immediate suspension on all old-growth logging, at least until they deliver their old-growth policy, which is expected in two years.
The group also wants the government to act on its 2020 elections to implement the 14 recommendations of the old-growth strategic review, which stated the province would protect up to 1,500 of B.C.’s most significant trees and over 350,000 hectares of old forest.
Lastly, the Rain4est Flying Squad request the province to work with First Nations to build a comprehensive plan for sustainable and restorative second and third growth forestry models.
Teal Jones hasn’t responded to Black Press Media’s request for an interview.
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