Together with representatives from tourism businesses and local government, Sierra Club BC and German environmental organization Rainforest Rescue called for an end to the ongoing clearcutting of Vancouver Island’s last endangered ancient rainforest. (Keri Coles/News staff)

International call for action to save B.C.’s old-growth rainforests

Petition with 185,000 signatures delivered to B.C. Legislature

As part of an international call for action, the voices of 185,000 people from around the world were heard Thursday at the B.C. Legislature, when a petition calling for the protection of B.C.’s old-growth forests was delivered to the government.

Together with representatives from tourism businesses and local government, Sierra Club BC and German environmental organization Rainforest Rescue called for an end to the ongoing clearcutting of Vancouver Island’s last endangered ancient rainforest.

“The ongoing destruction undermines the positive image of Canada internationally,” said Mathias Rittgerott, spokesperson with Rainforest Rescue. “Protecting rare old-growth forests is a crucial step in fighting global warming and saving habitat of endangered species. There is no price tag for the value of these forests.”

READ ALSO: ‘Stunning grove’ of unprotected old-growth trees located near Port Renfrew

Sent to Premier John Horgan and Forest Minister Doug Donaldson, the petition calls on the provincial government to “impose an immediate moratorium on the logging of intact forests in hotspots such as the Central Walbran and other valuable areas on Vancouver Island and the mainland.”

Ministerial assistant Tim Renneberg accepted the petition on behalf of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Most of the concerned citizens who signed the petition are from Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Australia and Argentina.

READ ALSO: Province not rushing to extinguish old growth chainsaws anytime soon

Local political support for the call came from Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and councillor-elect for the City of Victoria Laurel Collins who joined the group on the steps of the legislature.

“We can produce high quality, high value wood and good jobs while protecting watersheds and our climate with strong forest stewardship and improved forest management,” said Collins.

The ongoing harvesting of the globally rare, endangered old-growth rainforests worries Island tourism operators and experts as well, who say the destruction jeopardizes B.C.’s tourism economy.

“Opportunities to experience old-growth forests are increasingly rare in B.C. and particularly on Vancouver Island. Tourism businesses built around these experiences are sustainable year after year. The lack of consideration and foresight for other economic uses of these resources is a significant concern,” said Scott Benton of the Wilderness Tourism Association of BC.

“Tourists come to Vancouver Island to experience what is missing in so many other parts of the world: intact nature,” echoed Brian White, professor at Royal Roads University School of Tourism and Hospitality. “And yet what they find when they get here is big stumps, not big trees. We’re concerned about the impact on tourism businesses.”

The NDP’s 2017 election platform included a commitment to act for old-growth, promising to take “an evidence-based scientific approach and use the ecosystem-based management of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model.”

The group is asking the government to follow through on that promise.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey Vaisakhi Parade floods Newton streets

Hundreds of thousands of people attended the annual event

Four Surrey students head to New Brunswick for Canada-wide science fair

Three projects move to nationals following regional fair at KPU

VAISAKHI EXPLAINED: Founding of the Khalsa was a seminal event in Sikh history

There are five K’s – articles of faith – worn by baptized Sikhs

Man ‘seriously’ injured in crash after driving wrong way on Highway 17: Surrey RCMP

Police say the sedan hit a transport truck, then another car

Easter ‘eggstravaganza’ event planned for South Surrey

Event is to run from 12-3 p.m. at Dufferin Park (17355 2 Ave.).

VIDEO: Easter animal party at Museum of Surrey

Children had a chance to meet with Easter reptiles, falcons, owls and of course, bunnies.

VIDEO: Fan support almost deafening as Giants take Game 2 in finals

Vancouver G-Men cap comeback with thrilling third period to beat Spokane 4-2 on home ice in Langley

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read