Clayoquot Action
Clayoquot Action and Greenpeace take action for wild salmon in Tofino,

An action-packed year!

Dan Lewis is a founding director of Clayoquot Action.

It has been a fantastic first year for Clayoquot Action! Quite a whirlwind of a year—from the start-up in spring right through to the Clayoquot Summer 20 Years After fall tour. At year’s end, our infrastructure is up and running, including a small office in Tofino. Ready now for some quiet time by the woodstove to rest, reflect, and celebrate—and to get stoked for all the possibilities the New Year will bring!

Highlights of 2013 included hosting Alexandra Morton and Twyla Roscovich on their Salmon Confidential tour, organizing the Imperial Metals AGM rally with the Wilderness Committee, presenting a total of twenty two ’20 Years After’ shows to almost twelve hundred people, and organizing logistics for the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior’s Tofino visit. Read More

Vic Theatre marquee

Roadshow Wrap-up

“…amazing presentation. It can be easy to start to feel hopeless or helpless about all that is happening in the world, but you two are doing honest to goodness wonderful work… and it was very heart opening and inspiring. Hope that many get the chance to meet you both and see your presentation! Gratitude!” Kelli Gallagher, Powell River.

Standing on the deck of the ferry, gazing back at Salt Spring Island, heading for home. Reflecting on all the coastal communities we were able to visit this fall, all the amazing people who organized the shows and opened their homes to us. It has been a great run and we are heading for home satisfied and inspired!

After performing the Clayoquot Summer 20 Years After show weekly in Tofino from July through September, we decided to get out on the road to reach communities around Georgia Strait. We travelled to Courtenay, Powell River, Cortes Island, Gabriola Island, Vancouver, Victoria, Denman Island, Cowichan Bay, and Salt Spring Island. Read More

Big Black Bear

Tranquil Creek divine

Tyson Cross is a volunteer member of Clayoquot Action’s Salmon Virus Sampling Team. He lives and works in Tofino, and took the photo above.

The day prior to departing on this excursion to help monitor wild salmon, I watched a short film clip of Robert Bateman. He said “Think of a place that really means something to you deep in your heart.” He fears that if he were to ask young people this question they won’t have that place, it’s just not there. If people have no contact with nature, not only nature but also humanity will have a very gloomy future. However, one can’t despair—take action, it’s useful!

Tranquil Tribal Park—could a name say more? Most simply, the Tranquil is just something that needs to be experienced. Follow the inlet to the mouth of the creek. Follow Tranquil Creek just a little further in, and you will experience one of those moments that lasts a lifetime. Read More

Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior welcomed by Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations near Tofino BC

Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior visits Tofino

Dan Lewis is a founding director of Clayoquot Action.

Save Our Salmon

It was a gnarly morning, with a cold wind gusting under grey skies. I was feeling good about the decision to cancel the planned flotilla to greet Greenpeace’s flagship the Rainbow Warrior on the water. We had instead decided to convene at Chesterman’s Beach near Tofino. A couple of dozen people had shown up—not bad considering the conditions, I thought.

And then the magic happened! People began streaming out of the forest, onto the sandspit—all ages, and many walks of life, brightly dressed in a rainbow of raingear.

Sarah King from Greenpeace had spelled ‘Save Our Salmon’ in big letters on the sand. We lay down on the beach, and right on schedule a floatplane flew over, with local photographer Marnie Recker on board. Read More

Walk for Reconciliation

Walk for Reconciliation

Dan Lewis is a founding director of Clayoquot Action.

It’s not possible to work on conservation issues in British Columbia in this day and age without coming up against the reality that the issue of who owns the land has not been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. The simple fact is that Canada’s sovereignty was established right over top of pre-existing indigenous sovereignty. This has resulted in uncertainty for governments and business, confusion for Canadian citizens, and injustice and suffering for First Nations.

So last week I decided to check out the federal government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission National Event in Vancouver. The TRC is the federal government’s response to the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools run by the government and churches from 1875 to 1996.

The schools were an attempt by the church and state to eradicate indigenous cultures and languages—as was infamously said, “to kill the Indian in the child.” But indigenous peoples survived and this attempt at cultural genocide failed. However, the effects of the schools are intergenerational and are still being manifested. Native communities today are still in the process of healing. Read More

Map of Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks in Clayoquot Sound.

Gold exploration permit approved

The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation is angered to learn that plans to begin gold mining exploration in the Tranquil Tribal Park in Clayoquot Sound took a significant step forward last week. A letter was sent to the BC Minister of Energy and Mines from a Senior Mines Inspector recommending approval for a permit to conduct exploratory drilling at the long-abandoned Fandora mine site.

The Tla-o-qui-aht oppose mining in their territory and are not satisfied with the level of consultation by the company, Vancouver-based Selkirk Metals (owned by Imperial Metals Corporation) and the BC government. The Nation was awaiting word on a meeting with the Minister, which they expected to happen in September.

The Tla-o-qui-aht have declared Tranquil Valley a Tribal Park, have been working to attract investors in a conservation model, and aspire to build a salmon hatchery and other sustainable projects. The mine does not fit the Tla-o-qui-aht vision of ecosystem management and resource stewardship. Read More

Clayoquot Summer 1993 mass protest. Mark Hobson photo.

Clayoquot Summer 20 Years After—Part 2

Radical U

Was Clayoquot Summer worth all the effort? The Peace Camp in 1993 was a glimpse at an alternative to corporate control of our world—direct democracy. It was a radical university, empowering over ten thousand people with the techniques of peaceful direct action and consensus decision-making.

Jennifer Abbot, director of The Corporation stated in the 2006 film Clayoquot Sound Resistance and Renewal “I actually did feel that 300 people reached consensus, which was quite shocking. I’d never experienced that in my life. It was to me a model of consensus-building that I’ll never forget”.

Today the name Clayoquot has become synonymous with mass peaceful protest. Just as Clayoquot Summer found its roots in the civil rights movement, it is now part of one river that flows through movements such as Occupy Wall Street. The Enbridge resistance threatens to become the next “Clayoquot” according to media pundits.

Was Clayoquot Summer successful?

The arrests were largely symbolic. Most days the loggers eventually got through. However, temperate rainforests were put on the map as an important conservation issue alongside tropical rainforests such as the Amazon. And the cumulative results had a huge impact on logging here in Clayoquot Sound. Read More

Clayoquot Summer 20 Years After

Clayoquot Summer: 20 years after

The roots of Clayoquot Summer

Twenty-five years ago Tofino residents and Nuu-chah-nulth locals stood together in Sulphur Pass to prevent a road from being punched into the wildlands of northern Clayoquot Sound. The theme song of the blockade became Midnight Oil’s Beds are Burning. Campfire circles led to wild fantasies of the Oil playing live on the road, shutting the company down.

Fast-forward five years to Clayoquot Summer 1993, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. Midnight Oil played a show at the Peace Camp on a stage made of charred timbers from the Black Hole clearcut, with David Suzuki boogying down in the front row. Meanwhile hundreds of people, feeling their collective power, chose to remain seated on the road, and the loggers never did get through that day.

How did this happen? The answer is simple: we organized. Inspired by Redwood Summer in California (which was in turn inspired by Mississippi Summer, part of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s), we decided to focus on organizing mass protests. Read More

Meares Island Big Tree Trail near Tofino

Lights, Camera, Clayoquot Action!

Clayoquot Action was stoked to host and coordinate logistics for filmmakers Jacob Wise and Rebecca Billings from Ithaca, New York. The pair are working to create two feature-length documentaries about the ancient rainforests of Vancouver Island.

The first film will be an investigative piece about the rainforest and associated environmental issues. The second will be a nonverbal documentary that evokes the wonder and beauty of this sadly endangered environment. The two films will work as companion pieces to each other.

In March, they spent 17 days on Vancouver Island gathering footage, and are currently back to complete the task. While in Tofino they were able to join a traditional dugout canoe tour with Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations member Tsimka Martin. They also attended Clayoquot Action’s Clayoquot Summer 20 Years After presentation, joined a whale watching tour, and got to fly over Clayoquot Sound on a classically beautiful summer day! Read More

Leanne Hodges’ Clayoquot Wolf

When Clayoquot Action began looking for an artist to design our logo this spring, our high dream was to ask Leanne Hodges, a signature member to the Artists for Conservation Society, if she could help out. Leanne is a talented artist, naturalist, and wild salmon warrior. With characteristic enthusiasm she agreed, and asked what sort of image we were thinking of.

One image kept surfacing—a coastal wolf with a wild coho spawner in its mouth. Leanne has worked as a fisheries guardian in Clayoquot Sound. She first witnessed wolves teaching their pups to eat chum salmon while stream-walking in Mosquito Harbour on Meares Island Tribal Park—a memorable experience! Read More