Group that blockaded highway in Revelstoke over old growth logging says it’s switching to other tactics

The group mounted blockades on the Trans-Canada Highway in Revelstoke in 2022.

Old-growth logging protesters block the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 14, 2022. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
A group that has been blockading highways in B.C. in 2022 to protest government policies that permit logging of some areas of old growth forests in B.C. announced it will cease its highway blockades.
In a statement sent from an email address associated with past emailed statements from the Save Old Growth group, it said it was stopping the blockades as of June 29: “Major traffic disruptions will end today,” wrote the Save Old Growth group in the statement. “Other strategies will be used that won’t stop traffic.”
The group said it is shifting its focus to other tactics such as “public outreach and events.”
Most of the group’s blockades happened in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, but there was a group that mounted at least three blockades in Revelstoke.

Two of them led to arrests when protesters sat down on the Trans-Canada Highway bridge over the Columbia River and refused to leave when asked by police.
The group argued that past efforts to stop old growth logging in B.C. hadn’t achieved the goals it wanted, so its blockades were intended to raise awareness and increase pressure on government to change its policies.
However, political science analysts noted that protest movements need to win public support to be effective at pressuring government to change policy.
Although activists may perceive actions such as civil disobedience techniques to be an urgent and necessary escalation that increases pressure on government, the actions they choose may not have that effect, and also risk having the opposite effect if they alienate people.
An indication of B.C. government’s views on the protests’ effect on public opinion came in mid-June from Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, who praised police for arrests of Save Old Growth highway blockaders, saying the government wouldn’t tolerate illegal actions.

“The public does not support what they’re doing and if they think it does … they’ve got rocks in their head,” Farnworth said of the Save Old Growth group’s blockade tactics.

Serious injury

Following the first blockade protest in Revelstoke in January  that included confrontations between the blockaders, motorists and counter-protesters, offered analysis noting there was a high risk of injury or death in the highway protests.

In mid-June, a Vancouver Island protester’s hip was shattered after an improvised ladder contraption he was sitting on in the middle of the highway toppled over following confrontations with motorists.

Aaron Orlando is a Revelstoke-based journalist who serves as creative director of and Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. He's been on the news beat in Revelstoke for the past 14 years, serving in senior editorial roles. If you have or call/text him at 250-814-8710.