Protesters target old-growth logging on Island

About 50 protesters from half a dozen conservation groups gathered Tuesday at Cathedral Grove, west of Parksville, to protest Island Timberlands’ expansion of logging operations into old-growth forests on Vancouver Island.

Protesters from the Ancient Forest Alliance, the Port Alberni Watershed-Forest Alliance and several other groups unfurled a banner reading “Hands off old growth” and handed leaflets to visitors stopping at Cathedral Grove on Highway 4.

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Conservationists are calling on Island Timberlands to suspend plans to log old-growth forests while asking the provincial government to restore a park acquisition fund, and earmark $40 million a year for a decade to go into the fund.

The rally was held close to Island Timberlands’ logging operations at McLaughlin Ridge, Juniper Ridge, Labour Day Lake and Cameron Valley firebreak near Port Alberni.

The conservationists are also concerned about Island Timberlands’ plans to log Stillwater Bluffs near Powell River, Day Road Forest near Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast and forests on Cortes Island.

Ken Wu of the Ancient Forest Alliance said the province needs to make amends for allowing previously protected areas to be logged.

He’s calling on Island Timberlands to stop logging and the province to protect the lands from future clear-cutting.

Jane Morden of the Port Alberni Watershed-Forest Alliance said logging roads are being built into a forested area above the city’s water supply.

“They’re trying to log an old-growth portion on McLaughlin Ridge, which is part of the China Creek watershed. The hillside is an extremely steep, south-facing slope.

Calls to Island Timberlands were not returned.

Only one per cent of old-growth Coastal Douglas fir forest remain intact.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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