A group of about 25 people gathered outside Revelstoke City Hall on July 7 for an update from local old-growth logging opponents, where organizers announced that a logging blockade has been erected on the Bigmouth Forest Service Road, located approximately 125 kilometers north of Revelstoke to the east of Highway 23.
The group announcing the blockade has hosted two rallies in Revelstoke, the first on May 30 and the following on Canada Day. They have recently named themselves the Old Growth Revylution. Although they have no official environmental group affiliation, they are in solidarity with Fairy Creek old-growth logging protesters. Plans for a blockade were announced during their Canada Day rally, which saw approximately 130 attendees.
Read more about the Canada Day old-growth rally here:
Blockade plans revealed at city hall gathering
During this announcement, three speakers addressed the crowd of approximately 25 people. One of those speakers, Virginia Thompson, is a long-term old-growth activist. She highlights that Argonaut Creek, where the blockade is located, is at risk of losing it’s pristine status due to logging. Although deferrals protect some of the area, Thompson says they are calling for the remaining cutblocks in the valley to be deferred.
“We’ve been agitating for them to be included, so we could keep this valley pristine,” Thompson explains. “We should not be wiping old growth, ancient forests off the face of the earth because they are an ecosystem in themselves. They have intrinsic value.”
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Controversy around logging policy is unavoidable in a town like Revelstoke, where the industry plays a major role in the economy. Blockade organizer Laurence Chanut emphasizes that this movement is not anti-logging, but instead pushing for bigger systematic change.
“We understand that there are a lot of different stakeholders in this industry, and we’re not looking to target the loggers nor the companies,” says Chanut. “In order to put an end to old-growth logging we need to step back and look at this bigger system in which everyone is abiding by.”
The recently announced blockade is located in the Argonaut Creek valley, approximately two kilometres up the Bigmouth Forestry Service Road. According to a release from Old Growth Revylution, blockades will rotate throughout the region until their list of demands are met. Their demands include:
- Immediately deferring logging across all 1.3 million hectares of forest laid out by the old-growth strategic review.
- Instructing the Ministry of Forests to stop issuing new logging or road building approvals in any old growth forests.
- Creating a rapid and fair transition away from old-growth logging, providing economic alternatives for Indigenous and rural communities.
Organizers emphasize that this blockade is a peaceful protest, and the principles of non-violent action extend to loggers and RCMP officers.