Protesters gather in Duncan in solidarity with Forest March BC in April 2019. People will be gathered in groups across at least 13 B.C. communities to protest industrial logging and destruction of old growth forest on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Forest March BC)

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

A series of marches dedicated to stopping industrial logging and preserving old growth forests are coming to communities all around B.C. on Friday (Sept. 18)

The events are spearheaded by Forest March B.C., a grassroots group dedicated to “uniting and empowering B.C. communities located on the front lines of of forestry by creating a network of engaged resistance and solidarity for nature-based management of B.C. forests,” although most marches are led by groups not affiliated with the organization.

Organizer Jennifer Houghton said the rally had three goals: prioritizing ecosystem health in forestry legislation, involving affected communities in the management of public land and prohibiting private corporations from having any say in public land decisions.

“This is a way of unifying communities who’ve been negatively impacted by industrial clearcut forestry and giving communities a say in what’s going on in the land and the forests around us,” Houghton told Black Press Media by phone Thursday (Sept. 17).

“We’re the ones who are impacted by what’s happening in forests.”

Houghton said that while the group is focused on preserving old growth and responsible forest management, that doesn’t mean they are anti-logging or anti-forestry.

“We’ve been talking to workers and there’s a lot of uncertainty for forestry workers right now,” she said. “I hear from forestry workers that they’re concerned that B.C. is being ‘logged out’ and they’re not going to have long-term jobs.”

Houghton has personally felt the impact of logging. She lived in Grand Forks through the 2018 floods, which destroyed low-lying houses in the town, and is a plaintiff in a lawsuit that alleges negligent logging led to the destruction of their homes. The lawsuit has three plaintiffs and is targeted at six forestry and development companies, as well as the provincial government. None of the claims have been proven in court.

“The watershed above Grand Forks had an incredibly damaging effect on the local community,” Houghton said.

“The people who are making decisions about forestry in B.C. are corporations and that’s not good for small towns.”

But climate and environmental factors have impacted not just those near Grand Forks.

“It’s impacting climate change, our ability to be protected from fires… we need intact forests. We’re all at risk right now.”

Marches are scheduled across 13 communities in B.C. planned by groups in alignment with, but not affiliated by, Forest March BC, along with a main march in front of the B.C. Legislature from noon to 2 p.m. Friday. The communities with marches include Victoria, Powell River, Nanaimo, Whistler, Comox Valley, Nelson, Peachland, Gabriola Island, Golden, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Salt Spring Island and Oceanside Parksville.

Specific locations for the marches are not being revealed so as to aid organizers in keeping them small and COVID-compliant. Participants are asked to physically distance and wear masks.

READ MORE: What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Environmentforestry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Community Futures North Okanagan hosted free virtual valley-wide seminars during Small Business Week. (Contributed)
Organization equips Okanagan businesses with pandemic tools

Community Futures sees success in its all-virtual Small Business Week seminar series

Dr. Steve Piper, owner of Monashee Health Collective, is leading an applied research project to develop an app that will help health professionals connect with patients in real time. (Contributed).
Okanagan researchers developing app to connect patients with practitioners virtually

The prototype holistic wellness app will be tested and launched over the next six months

Two have been taken to hospital following a vehicle crash north of Vernon on Highway 97 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Crash north of Vernon causes Highway 97 traffic delays

Emergency crews respond to two-vehicle incident near Swan Lake; occupants taken to hospital

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. The British Columbia provincial election will be on Oct. 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Greater Vernon Chamber reacts to provincial election

Chamber president congratulates NDP, lists the issues the chamber will advocate for

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
UPDATE: Flames doused for second time at fatal Penticton apartment fire

The Elm Ave. building first caught fire around 4 a.m., killing two people and displacing dozens

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

(Submitted)
Penticton apartment fire claims two lives

An apartment on Elm Avenue went up in flames Tuesday morning

A Summerland woman has set up an online fundraiser to provide backpacks to those being released from correctional facilities.(ca.gofundme.com)
Summerland woman raising money for backpack program

Backpacks will be distributed to those being released from correctional facilities

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A four-vehicle accident on the Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous destroyed two cars and a section of bridge guardrail but remarkably injured no one. (Sicamous RCMP Image)
Sicamous’ Bruhn Bridge site of two collisions

Although a total of five vehicles were involved, no one was injured

Most Read