A monumental old-growth yellow cedar tree in the at-risk headwaters of Fairy Creek. Black Press file photo

A monumental old-growth yellow cedar tree in the at-risk headwaters of Fairy Creek. Black Press file photo

LETTER – There are many reasons why Fairy Creek old-growth must be protected from logging

Dear editor,

There are so many reasons to save the precious 60,000 hectares of forests surrounding the headwaters of Fairy Creek (the San Juan Landscape Unit).

1) The headwaters have been used by Pacheedaht Peoples for religious and ceremonial purposes, and if it is logged the sacred bathing pools will be jeopardized.

2) The area’s steeply sloped valley’s soil stability and integrity will be at risk, and eventually will cause flooding, erosion and landslides that will choke streams, destroy the lower forests, and threaten the habitats of many unprotected and severely compromised plant and animal red- and blue-listed species.

3) The San Juan River’s tributaries originate at the headwaters and, when damaged, could cause flooding of the Pacheedaht reserve, and also negatively affect the river and its salmon-bearing capacities.

4) B.C. has signed on to the United Nations Declaration [on the Rights of] Indigenous Peoples, which means all resource extraction projects have to have the full consent of First Nations. Industry consulting with band councils, behind closed doors, using pressure tactics and bribes, is no longer seen as consent. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs has unilaterally stated they want a moratorium on logging old-growth forests until reconciliation legislation is in effect.

5) The forest industry, heavily subsidized by the taxpayers, has mismanaged forests for decades and is now running low on second- and third-growth timber. We need to allow local Indigenous communities, not corporations, to manage what is left.

6) If the injunction rules in favour of Teal-Jones, they will be allowed to destroy many almost extinct and globally significant ecosystems around the San Juan River including what is left and unprotected in the Nitinat, Caycuse, Walbran and Eden Grove areas. This amounts to ecocide.

7) The province should be considering policing costs versus how much they’re going to bring in on stumpage fees; it costs over $10,000 to arrest one person. If 400 people get arrested at Fairy Creek that will cost $4 million, monies that could be used to help the Pacheedaht for long-term eco-tourism ventures.

Esther Muirhead,

Denman Island

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