Environmental Groups From Around the World Stunned By Plans to Open Remaining Pristine Valleys to Logging
August 1, 2006, Vancouver, BC – A half dozen environmental groups, including Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council, say they are shocked that Clayoquot Sound – designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a region the groups fought to save - is once again under threat from logging in pristine valleys. First Nations and the BC government quietly announced, on Friday, newly approved plans that allow logging in the remaining pristine valleys of Clayoquot Sound,- the largest and last cluster of intact valleys left on Vancouver Island.
“For many of us who fought long and hard to ensure the protection of these forests, this is our worst nightmare,” said Tzeporah Berman, Program Director of ForestEthics and a coordinator of the Clayoquot protests of the early nineties. “We urge governments to reconsider this devastating move.”
Clayoquot Sound became an area of international prominence when a government decision to allow logging in the fragile rainforest came under intense scrutiny from major environmental groups and the international marketplace. Debate over the future of the region led to the largest civil disobedience protests in Canada’s history with over 10,000 people standing on logging blockades and more than 800 people arrested. A 1999 agreement signed by environmental groups, First Nations and the logging company McMillan Bloedel to voluntarily put the pristine valleys off limits to logging signaled the end of intense campaigns.
Despite Plan approvals that open up the potential for logging, environmental groups continue to seek permanent protection of the remaining pristine valleys.
“Clayoquot Sound’s pristine valleys should be saved forever, but these new plans undermine years of protests, good faith negotiations and the will of the international community,” said Stephanie Goodwin, Greenpeace forest campaigner. “Any long-term solution for Clayoquot Sound must incorporate the protection of these valleys.”
World-renowned scientists including Dr. Jane Goodall and Dr. E.O. Wilson as well as several members of the blue ribbon Clayoquot Sound Science Panel, from which the Plans originated, have said the pristine valleys should not be logged. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature also recommended that the pristine valleys be protected.
“Recent satellite photo analysis shows that 89% of the productive, valley-bottom ancient forests on Vancouver Island have already been logged. This Island-wide context must factor into any scientific assessment on whether it is acceptable to allow logging in the pristine valleys of Clayoquot Sound. Clearly, this wasn't done in devising the new watershed plans," states Ken Wu of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee.
For more information and photos, please contact:
Tzeporah Berman, Program Director at ForestEthics, (250) 935-0061
Stephanie Goodwin, Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace, (604) 761-6722
Ken Wu, Forest Campaigner at Western Canada Wilderness Committee, (250) 514-9910
Lisa Matthaus, Director at Sierra Club of Canada BC Chapter, (250) 888-6267
Friends of Clayoquot Sound (250) 725-4218