On 9 November, after six weeks of camping out in the west coast wilderness, bearing witness to the irreplaceable beauty of the Walbran Valley ancient rainforest and it’s on-going destruction, forest protectors acting independently from any established group, took their witness to the point of direct action, at a checkpoint. They turned away road building crews constructing logging roads in the Glad Lake area of the Walbran valley.
The Walbran River watershed has long been known as ground zero in a twenty-five year old battle to protect one of the last large wilderness areas of ancient temperate rainforest on the Island.
After weeks of enduring inclement weather, the early morning noise and clatter of industrial machinery, chainsaws, road-blasting equipment, and the repetitive buzzing of company helicopters circling low overhead their rudimentary camp at Walbran River, three people – Dave Cascagnette, Trevor Schinkel and Jennifer Whitehouse have initiated a stand that may very well be a straw that breaks the camel’s back in attracting more people to directly defend the forest.
At the heart of a major public controversy is the approved logging in the pristine Central Walbran ancient forest of an area of steep hill country habitat of 500-800 year old trees, immediately above the salmon-bearing river. The actions today, targeting logging activities outside the Central Walbran area, are a strong sign of the growing public opposition to the continued industrial destruction of this threatened rainforest watershed.
Friends of Carmanah/ Walbran confirmed that these actions are committed by a group of individuals acting on their own behalf, in a focus area outside of their current campaign to protect the wilderness north of the river from logging encroachment. They also acknowledge that the feelings of frustration from witnessing the environmental degradation from logging and road-building is a valid reason for individuals taking such actions on their own behalf, to protect the old growth landscape heavily impacted by industrial activity.