The fight over the future of B.C.’s old-growth forests has thrust a hidden-away parcel of land northeast of Port Renfrew into the national spotlight.
Protesters have been blockading logging roads near the Fairy Creek watershed since last summer. The confrontation began heating up last month when the RCMP began to enforce a court-ordered injunction on Tree Forest Licence 46. The area is a 59,000-hectare timber harvesting tenure held by private logging company Teal-Jones.
That battle has resulted in the arrests of nearly 200 protesters, fighting to protect the estimated 13 million hectares of old-growth forests remaining in B.C. Old-growth is defined as trees older than 250 years along B.C.’s coast. The forestry sector contends there are about 3.6 million hectares of old-growth forest available for logging on public land, with the remainder made up of high-alpine trees that are too costly to harvest.
The goal of the protesters is to slow down logging operations, doing whatever they can to get in the way and keep the trees alive.
The forestry sector represented $13 billion to the B.C. economy in 2019, but protesters say a price tag can’t be placed on B.C.’s ancient forests.
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