Iisaak_logging_Clayoquot_Sound

Still logging Clayoquot Sound

I never expected to end up in maximum security prison when I moved to Tofino in 1988. I had just finished my fourth season of tree planting—I knew what would happen to Clayoquot Sound’s rainforest if something didn’t change, soon. People often ask what brought me to Tofino. “My Volkswagen van,” I quip, but really it was the big trees, which I had fallen in love with as a teenager back in 1979.

When I rolled into town, the community was in an uproar over a logging road being blasted into Ahousaht First Nations territory—along Millar Channel, heading for Sulphur Passage and onward to the Megin River valley. Brave individuals, including Ahousaht hereditary chief (the late) Earl Maquinna George, were staging a resistance at the end of the road, using peaceful and creative means to stop the road building. It was a hot buggy summer, full of life-threatening confrontations with the loggers. By September, thirty seven people had been arrested. As it turned out, the logging company did not even have road-building permits—the road was illegal!

We succeeded in stopping the road from entering Sulphur Passage. In 1993 Sulphur Pass and the Megin River valley were added to Strathcona Provincial Park. The Megin and Moyeha, along with Clayoquot Sound’s other unlogged river valleys, comprise Vancouver Island’s Last Great Rainforest. Everything outside of park boundaries is still open for logging.

Current logging in Shark Creek
I was dismayed recently to hear of logging near the borders of the Sulphur Passage park, hacking away at what remains of the ancient rainforest (photo above taken June 3rd, 2015). The logging is taking place in the headwaters of Shark Creek, so named for the sacred waterfall at its mouth—basking sharks use the pool there as a nursery. (Sander Jain photo below)

Shark Creek waterfalls

Forests are carbon banks
As the western half of Canada goes up in smoke, I’ve been pondering the future of BC’s forests. A recent report from the Sierra Club BC found that in the past decade “BC forests have been releasing dramatically more carbon into the atmosphere than they have absorbed out of the atmosphere”. Campaigner Jens Wieting goes on to say “Restoring BC’s forests so that we are banking carbon rather than withdrawing it, is necessary not just for our climate but also for water quality, salmon habitat and forest jobs. If the provincial government shifts subsidies from fossil fuels to forestry and other climate solutions, we can create jobs that will reduce emissions, slow climate change, and support communities, the economy and forests, instead of putting them at risk.”

I spend a week in jail
That summer of 1988 I joined the crew on the road and committed myself to protecting Clayoquot Sound. I was arrested for peacefully preventing the drill rig from working. The judge sentenced me and 5 other women to a week in jail. He thought to make an example of us to deter others. Little did he know we were the thin edge of the wedge that would grow to become a full-fledged rainforest uprising by 1993.

Today the scar of that road to nowhere is visible on the way to Hot Springs Cove. Around the bend lies the Megin River Class A provincial park, a reminder of the power of taking a stand for Nature. It is time to stop logging Clayoquot’s rainforests, and bank them for the future.

Bonny Glambeck is Clayoquot Action’s Campaigns Director.

Who's Knocking report cover

Who’s Knocking?

Before the dust had even settled on the Mount Polley Mine disaster, owner Imperial Metals was active again in Clayoquot Sound. This finding was published in Who’s Knocking?, a report on mineral tenures in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The report, by Clayoquot Action in partnership with the Fair Mining Collaborative, details who is looking for minerals in Clayoquot Sound, and what types of minerals they are looking for.

The study found that 5.8% of Clayoquot Sound is under some form of mineral title, with a total of 257 claims held by 23 licensees. As recently as 2010, 24.5% of the region was under mineral tenure—the area staked has fallen due to the low price of minerals. This highlights the ‘boom and bust’ nature of the mining industry. Claim staking will likely increase again when metal prices rebound. Minerals sought after include gold, silver, and copper. Continue reading

Raven Coal action—Fyson Bridge

Hummingbirds—yes we can!

John Snyder is President of the CoalWatch Comox Valley Society

Compliance Coal’s withdrawal of their latest Application for the proposed Raven Coal Mine Project from the BC Environmental Assessment Office’s evaluation screening process is a significant setback for Compliance, and a victory for those who have opposed this ill-advised project for more than 5 years.

The Raven Coal Mine Project planned to build and operate an underground coal mine only 5 kilometres from Fanny Bay and Baynes Sound on the east side of Vancouver Island and ship the processed coal by truck to a proposed coal port in Port Alberni on the west side of Vancouver Island. Continue reading

ount Polley Mine disaster

Imperial Metals: April Fools?

Clayoquot Action is watching closely how Imperial Metals handles their Mount Polley Mine disaster. Why? Because the same company has plans for 2 new mines right here in Clayoquot Sound.

On April 1st an application filed by Imperial Metals for a restricted re-start of its Mount Polley mine was accepted for formal review. The BC government announced a 30-day public comment period with a deadline of April 30th. A decision on whether or not to issue the permits will be made in early June.

Continue reading

aerial of Hazeltine Creek after Mount Polley mine disaster. Jeremy Williams photo

Mount Polley report: no more ‘business as usual’

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

On January 30, the BC government released the report of an independent panel appointed to determine the cause of the dam failure at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine last summer. When that dam failed, 25 million cubic metres of toxic slurry flowed into Polley Lake, down Hazeltine Creek and into the pristine waters of Quesnel Lake—home to one quarter of the Fraser River’s sockeye salmon. Continue reading

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Busted on Burnaby Mountain!

Bonny Glambeck is Clayoquot Action’s Campaigns Director.

My heart was pounding as I took the microphone to speak to the crowd of two hundred rallied at the foot of Burnaby Mountain. Not because I was nervous about speaking, but because of the great emotion welling up inside of me—I was about to be arrested.

Arrested for something that has weighed heavily on my heart and mind for decades—the climate crisis. This is an overwhelmingly huge issue, one that is hard to get a handle on, hard to act on. We all do what we can, but at the end of the day systemic changes are needed to overcome the most pressing challenge of our time. Continue reading

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Mount Polley Eyewitness Video

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

It was a dark and stormy night—October 21st—the night of Clayoquot Action’s Mount Polley Eyewitness Report presentation in Tofino. The evening featured Nitanis Desjarlais, Dan Lewis and Bonny Glambeck who had all traveled from the west coast to witness the Mount Polley disaster. Continue reading

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Mount Polley eyewitness

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

(This year on BC Day, in the wee hours of the morning, the tailings dam at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine burst. Twenty-five million cubic metres of toxic effluent poured out into Polley Lake, and from there began to rush down Hazeltine Creek into Quesnel Lake.)

I didn’t really want to go to Mount Polley. I felt I had to go—to see for myself how bad things could get if Imperial Metals ever succeeded in opening a similar mine on Catface Mountain in Clayoquot Sound. What I saw broke my heart. Continue reading

Mt.Polley_roadtrip

Heading for Mount Polley

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

From the best to the worst BC Day ever
This year on BC Day, I was off paddling near Tofino, camping in Ahous Bay, one of my favourite places in the world. The weather was fantastic, and we caught a glimpse of a wolf when we arrived—a sure sign you’re in the wild. The beach we camped on has a great view of Catface Mountain, traditionally known by Ahousaht First Nations as čitaapii. Catface can be seen from the Whiskey Dock in downtown Tofino (pictured above).

Imagine our horror upon returning home to learn that possibly the largest environmental disaster in BC history had occurred that day at Mount Polley mine, owned by Imperial Metals. The implications for Clayoquot were chilling, as the same company has the same plans for Catface Mountain, right in the heart of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Continue reading

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map of 2 new fish farms in clayoquot sound bc

Salmon farm expansion in Clayoquot Sound

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

2 more salmon farms in Clayoquot?
Cermaq Canada, a Norwegian-owned company, has applied for 2 new salmon feedlots in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. There are already 21 feedlot sites in Clayoquot.

The new feedlots would be located in Ahousaht First Nations’ territories, one in Millar Channel (on the route to Hot Springs Cove), and one in Herbert Inlet (close to the unlogged Moyeha River which has been protected since 1911 in Strathcona Park). Continue reading