A group protesting old-growth logging has returned to the Fairy Creek area, north of Port Renfrew, blocking logging roads.
The camp was set up last Saturday by a group called Savage Patch, blocking the bridge over the Gordon River.
The goal of the blockade is to stop forestry company Teal Jones from accessing cut blocks 7265 and 7263 on Edinburgh Mountain.
Soda Liptrott, Savage Patch blockade participant, said despite the provincial government’s work on short-term deferrals of logging activity within 2.6 million hectares of B.C.’s most at-risk old-growth forests, there are still ancient trees falling that need to be protected.
“We’re still seeing around the Island and around the province our most biodiverse, climate resilient forests falling daily,” Liptrott explained. “So we feel it’s critical to be out there for all the biodiversity, the Indigenous cultures that depend on these lands and have arisen on these lands.”
This time blockaders aren’t just blocking the road with their bodies but with a large wooden screech owl statue. Liptrott said the group built the statue with leftover wood found in the cut blocks they are trying to protect.
“It’s meant to symbolize the extinction crisis we are in and the biodiversity collapse. There are screech owls present up in the area of the cut block, which is an endangered specie here in B.C., so we wanted to make the owl as an art piece [and] kind of block the road as well,” he added.
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Previous Fairy Creek blockades in 2021 and 2022 gained national attention after violence broke out.
RCMP made 1,100 arrests after Teal Jones obtained an injunction against the protesters blocking the roads to stop old-growth logging in the area.
RELATED STORY: RCMP arrest total at Fairy Creek nears 500
Liptrott said this blockade is different and has ruled against weapons and violence in place.
“We are here to be peaceful and to lovingly stand up for this ecosystem. That is our number one rule is no violent energy towards anybody within the group, to the group, but also towards forestry workers, locals who are recreating in the area and the police,” he said.
In a statement to CHEK News, Patcheedaht First Nation said, “these individuals are trespassing on Pacheedaht First Nations territory despite our repeated requests activists respect our right to manage this land in accordance with our traditions.”
The Nation signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2022 with Teal Jones, where the two parties work together to identify and pursue forestry opportunities in Pacheedaht’s traditional territories.
The statement added that Savage Patch has vandalized a bridge in the territory and potentially polluted the waterway with spray paint.
“Given the high fire risk, it is not safe for them to be in the area. We ask that they leave our territory,” the statement reads.
Liptrott said the blockaders plan to stand their ground and keep doing what they can to protect the old-growth forests.