Logging protesters defy court injunction, set up new blockade

Protesters set up a new blockade in the Caycuse Valley near Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park over the Easter weekend and said they have stopped logging company Teal Jones from falling trees on its approved cutblocks in the area.

The B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday granted Teal Jones an injunction that would allow the arrest and removal of protesters from access points to Tree Forest Licence 46, which the company owns.

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Protesters with the Rainforest Flying Squad said Monday that Teal Jones has not yet served them with the injunction at Caycuse nor the Fairy Creek area near Port Renfrew, but they are ready to defy the order and face arrest. They said they “will not back down until the area is saved.”

The group is calling on Premier John Horgan to implement the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review and to defer logging in the Caycuse Valley and all other at-risk old-growth forests.

The new blockade severs access to six approved cut-blocks in the Caycuse watershed. Teal Jones has been logging there for several years.

“These ancient, coastal rainforest trees, growing in fertile valley bottoms, are among the biggest on the planet,” Joshua Wright, a spokesman for the Rainforest Flying Squad, said in a statement. “It’s a huge betrayal.”

Over the weekend, falling crews arrived in trucks with saws to work in a new cut area, “but they were peacefully turned away,” the group said.

Demonstrators are also beefing up the blockade at Fairy Creek, where Teal Jones is trying to log about 200 hectares along a ridge above a valley of protected old-growth trees.

About 200 protesters are expected to block the access point to the Fairy Creek watershed this week, according to organizers. That blockade has been in place for eight months and was the focus of Teal Jones’ injunction application in court.

Teal Jones estimates the blockades have jeopardized hundreds of jobs through its workforce chain of fallers to mills.

dkloster@timescolonist.com

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