Protecting Old Growth Forest and the Fairy Creek Ecosystem
August 9 marks the first anniversary of Fairy Creek forest defenders protecting ancient trees standing over 800 years and over 60 metres tall. In the intervening year the issues have proven to be complicated.
A recent two-year deferral of old-growth logging requested by the Pacheedaht and two other First Nations, doesn’t include all areas of old growth within Fairy Creek targeted for removal by Teal Jones.
Although the Pacheedaht First Nation Council has asked protesters to leave, members of the Pacheedaht First Nation, including Elder Bill Jones and disputed hereditary chief Victor Peter, have requested they stay, as guests, to help protect the ancient forest.
On April 1, Teal Jones received a court injunction to remove demonstrators. Since mid-May, over 500 arrests have been made. RCMP enforcing the court order have themselves come under scrutiny for implementing exclusion zones restricting the news media and independent legal advisors. On July 20, the BC Supreme Court granted media the right to witness RCMP actions, per Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Emotions are running high along with concerns about: the future of BC’s biodiversity, climate change, carbon sequestering, watershed protection, profit over planetary health, and embedded colonialism. With over 233 active wildfires in BC at press time, and with world weather anomalies breaking records it is understandable that people in BC are anxious about continued old growth logging.
Elders for Ancient Trees recently saw 30 local seniors present court judgements affirming the right to public access and peaceful protest at Fairy Creek. They eventually breached RCMP exclusion lines.