Spring Action Training
Thank you to all who participated in strategy discussions, skills workshops, and non-violence training at the 2016 Walbran Action Training.
No new logging has been approved near Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park, and the court orders against protectors have expired. The road is open, and FAN is standing by with gear and guidance for visitors to the contested central valley.
Teal Jones Corporation is clear-cutting the giant old-growth forests of the Walbran Valley on Vancouver Island's west coast, two hours from Victoria BC. They are laying waste to a thousand-year-old ecosystem for short-term profit without the consent of the Pacheedaht First Nation, the Qwa-ba-diwa people, or anyone else outside of the BC government.
Pacific Coast people have a long history of standing up for the places we love. In recent decades, thousands of Vancouver Islanders have come together to protect cathedral forests from clearcut logging.
It wasn't easy then, and it won't be easy now. The odds are against us. Fortunately our side has a small army of peaceful resisters who are committed to strategic action to win back the Walbran.
The proper designation for the Walbran Valley is "socially inoperable," meaning a place where the company has no social license to operate, and the community takes action to put a stop to the logging.
Pacheedaht First Nation re-occupation
Right: Pacheedaht First Nation territory (click to enlarge). Left: Pacheedaht member WIlliam Jones
Pacheedaht First Nation chief and council are honouring a request to build a cabin for the band's use in the Walbran Valley. Negotiations are now underway with the band, the province, the federal government, and Teal Jones.
We'll post updates as we get them.
Skills for Action
Forest Action Network is hosting a spring action training to share skills and develop strategies for protecting the Walbran Valley. We are gearing up to assist the forest protectors in every way possible.
Backcountry skills give us the ability to camp and move silent and undetected through the forest, away from roads, personnel, and potential conflicts.
Tree-climbing and treesits are extremely effective ways to occupy the forest canopy, document rare species and get a birds-eye view of the logging, while staying well away from the loggers themselves. Our trainers can show almost anyone how to climb a 100-ft tree safely and easily using ropes and a harness.
Non-violent direct action training is crucial for anyone who might come into contact with police, loggers, or protestors. This in-depth workshop uses role-playing to practice techniques for de-escalating conflict and keeping the peace.
Legal rights and potential consequences are a huge concern for those visiting the Walbran Valley. We share what we have learned from decades of experience with over a dozen campaigns.
Strategies and Tactics gives an introduction to campaign planning: goals, targets, allies, supporters, and methods that succeed in conflicts where one side has the money and power, and the other has grassroots support and commitment but few resources.
Disclaimer: This training promotes safety, education, research, legal rights, and indigenous solidarity. Anyone who interferes with Teal Jones or others is guided by his or her own conscience, not by direction from Forest Action Network, its trainers or volunteers. We are not responsible for what individuals choose to do with the training we provide.
Logging the Walbran Valley: An Open Letter to Teal Jones
To Teal Jones' executives, contractors, foresters, geologists, staff, and stakeholders:
I’m writing as a director of Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network in Port Renfrew, BC. As forest watchdogs, we share Teal Jones' goal of achieving the best environmental stewardship possible. I’m pleased to announce we are doubling down on our commitment to that goal.
There is a growing perception that Teal Jones' operations in the Walbran Valley – logging an ancient forest that’s part of a beloved recreation area, on public land next to a park - is illegal, or ought to be. The public has a strong interest in ensuring that Teal Jones is not breaking any laws, statutes, or regulations.
In this spirit, we are recruiting volunteers to monitor every inch of area designated for timber harvesting, including proposed clearcuts, special management zones, wildlife habitat, leave trees, slash piles, streams, log dumps, roads, helipads, culverts, and ditches. We will check signage and radio frequencies, and visually inspect logging trucks. We will make sure the stumpage and grade-setting for the area are correct. A team of eager researchers is preparing for these tasks.
Of special concern are the karst features in the area – sensitive limestone formations underground, or in this case, on the surface. This is one of our areas of expertise, and we look forward to seeing the reports from the geologist responsible for signing off on logging those cutblocks. We plan to prepare our own reports and take all appropriate steps to ensure everyone involved is aware of the provisions of the law and fully complies with the requirements of the Forest District’s order for protection of karst.
There's more. We will continue to follow up and document the area long after the trees are felled, to monitor reforestation, slope stabilization, road decommissioning, landslides, and habitat restoration.
We welcome the opportunity to use every legal means to achieve the goal of environmental sustainability.
We are aware of the history of violence by loggers in BC, including unprovoked attacks on peaceful protesters. We are concerned about potential hotheads on the logging crew, and for that reason we will take steps to keep our volunteers safe and give them the ability to respond appropriately, including documenting any violence or threats.
We note that rather than working with the community to find a way to preserve recreation sites and wildlife habitat, Teal Jones has taken the extreme step of suing people to get them out of the way.
Speaking for Forest Action Network, we have no intention of violating the court order. We employ strictly legal means to achieve our forest stewardship goals. Since the logging is taking place in a place designated as Crown land, we have the right and the responsibility as stakeholders to monitor and bear witness to Teal Jones' operations.
As a non-profit society, we don't counsel anyone to commit illegal action. We don't condone activities like sabotage, vandalizing equipment, or spiking trees, which is the practice of hammering oversized nails into trees to threaten chainsaws and mill blades. But we remember history: two thousand trees spiked in the Walbran Valley in 1992, for example. That kind of response is not what we advocate, but we recognize that people are angry and determined enough to take this kind of action.
Teal Jones' reckless pursuit of the ancient Walbran forest has brought us to this conflict in an effort to keep the peace. The company is aggressively logging up to the park boundary, disregarding community input, and failing to obtain social license for its operations in the Central Walbran. They are operating in a rapidly changing climate, using discredited practices from the last century. They have lost sight of the goal shared by millions around the world: preserving this dwindling, irreplaceable ecosystem. We will do everything in our power to sustain these living communities.
We’re looking forward to seeing you soon.
Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network
Top: Ellen Atkin
Bottom: Walbran Central