ELK CREEK ACTION CONTINUES!
New Tree Sit Established
Forest defenders are vowing to continue their four month old non-violent direct action campaign in the sacred temperate rainforest of Elk Creek. A new tree sit, high in the towering canopy of a moss-covered fir, is now permanently occupied. This fir will remain standing in the centre of the proposed log-drop area on Marble Hill acting as yet another spanner in the gears of Cattermole's destructive industrial logging machine.
A previous tree sit in the area was destroyed when Cattermole Timber Co. acted outside the law to silence its critics, trampling on the Constitutional right to protest and political expression without seeking a court injunction. Over $500 of equipment was destroyed in that vigilante action.
Politicians and authorities have shown a blatant disregard for public opinion, Aboriginal Rights and Title, and ecological integrity, choosing to grease the wheels for profit-seeking companies and refusing to take action to resolve the Elk Creek. Such a failure of representation leaves concerned people with no option but to act on their conscience by putting themselves directly at the source of the injustice -- between product and profit.
"Something is terribly wrong here. When every form of public input is ignored it becomes clear that the public process is a sham," said forest protector Marissa Bourgeois. "If the politicians refuse to protect this sacred remnant of the temperate rainforest then we will. We hope that our efforts will force decision makers to take action to address the outstanding issues of Aboriginal Title, ecological protection, dangerous corporate abuses, democratic deficiency, and subsidized stumpage fees for exporting jobs."
Jen Harris explains, "Sooner or later politicians are going to have to acknowledge that industrial export logging of primary forests on unceded First Nations territory cannot be justified morally, economically, or environmentally. In the meantime, we will continue to act in defense of this land and the rights of its original peoples. Let's hope that the decision makers wake up before there is nothing left to protect and while the basis for a respectful and successful resolution to treaty issues exists. If we succeed, then our descendants will have the blessing of being nurtured and sustained by a diverse, healthy, resilient and beautiful ecosystem. The alternative is unthinkable."
This latest forest defense action comes on the heels of Chilliwack City Council's pathetic capitulation to Cattermole, rewarding them with a retroactive permit after breaking the law by conducting dangerous industrial activities on residentially zoned land without warning or permission. Cattermole logged Elk Creek without a viable means of extracting the logs, they acted outside the law beating non-violent forest protectors, and conducting dangerous un-permited log-landing and hauling. And yet politicians continue to bend their own rules to enhance Cattermole's profits.
The proposed Marble Hill log landing is intended to be used to parade Elk Creek's raw logs, and the associated jobs, directly across the border as permitted by a special provincial Order in Council sought by Cattermole. Elk Creek - sacred site of the Cheam, a rare treasure to the people of Chilliwack and a home to endangered Spotted Owls - has been plundered for a mere dollar per tree in stumpage fees ($0.25/cubic meter).
Cattermole timber has desecrated the sacred lower Elk Creek watershed and trashed the habitat of four endangered species, pushing the spotted owl closer to the brink of permanent extinction. We do not intend to let them profit from their callous crimes. With our actions in Elk Creek, forest defenders are setting precedent that we will not sit idly by while corporate criminals pillage our common future.
It is not too late to set a bold new course for this unique area. The un-ceded Title of the original peoples remains, as do the pristine old-growth headwaters of Elk Creek, Dunville and Nevin Creeks, and undeveloped Chipmunk Ridge - all worth fighting for.
Those who are considering further development in the area had better take notice. Anyone who thinks that they will ignore the many issues and turn a quick profit on these hillsides is sadly mistaken. They will have to contend, again and again, with the informed, determined, spirited, and united resistance of all those who know that it is time to act in defense of the Earth and all those who recognize the rights of this land's Original Peoples.
Released by the Elk Creek Action Group.
For more information contact:
Elk Creek Action Group - Marissa Bourgeois 604-689-5076 (leave a message)
Cheam elder June Quipp 604-794-5715
Elk Creek Conservation Coalition -
Diane Moen 604-794-3812, Verna Pigou 604-794-3111
Western Canada Wilderness Committee - 604-683-8220, 604-880-2580