A campaign to spare Mount Rose Swanson from scheduled logging encountered a setback last week when a sign at the trailhead was vandalized.
The signage, reading ‘Save Rose Swanson,’ was erected at Chamberlain Road in Armstrong and was vandalized and burnt by a group of partiers over the weekend of Jan. 16 and 17, according to a media release from the campaign organization.
The province has confirmed plans to log just over 28 hectares of the Armstrong forest lands next winter, including four per cent of lands designated as ‘sensitive’ in 1997.
Campaign organizer Beverley Peacock says the vandalism appeared to be opportunistic rather than a personal attack.
“But it highlights risks to a park used by thousands every year,” she said.
The Save Rose Swanson Mountain campaign was launched in January in response to news that BC Timber Sales would be holding a timber auction for the area this coming fall. More than 20,000 people have since signed a petition to leave the forest untouched for recreational use.
There was no mention of wildfire mitigation in the Ministry of Forest’s explanation for the logging. Rather, spokesperson Tyler Hooper explained the Rose Swanson area has not contributed to the Okanagan timber supply area’s annual allowable cut “in many years.”
Local artist Sarah McCoubrey created the original painting for the vandalized sign.
“It’s disheartening to see this vandalism targeting the effort of our small group of residents,” said McCoubrey. “But it also shows how important this area is to all different groups. We need proper public input into any decisions made about Rose Swanson Mountain.”
The campaign organizers consider the incident a minor setback, but say it won’t deter their efforts.
“We will continue pushing forward,” said Peacock. “Our goal is to document, extend and protect this amazing natural habitat for future generations.”