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Protesters say B.C.’s old growth forest battle will no longer be blocking your commute

Save Old Growth ending campaign of highway protests while maintaining its call for logging ban
Two Save Old Growth protesters blocking Highway 1 at the Columbia River Bridge in Revelstoke. The group says it will end its highway protests as of June 29. (Josh Piercey/Revelstoke Review)

Protesters are continuing their call for B.C. to end all old-growth logging in the province, but the group behind the recent demonstrations says it will no longer obstruct traffic.

Save Old Growth announced its major traffic disruptions will end as of Wednesday (June 29). The group said it will continue to use other strategies, just ones that won’t impede drivers.

“We continue to request the government take urgent steps to permanently protect B.C.’s remaining old-growth forests,” Save Old Growth said in a statement.

Frequent protests popped up in the winter and early spring on Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland highways. The road-blocking actions then resumed in mid-June.

The highway protests have been met at several times with confrontations with frustrated drivers, who in some cases have tried to drag demonstrators off the roadway. During a June 14 Vancouver Island blockade, one protester shattered a hip after falling from atop a ladder minutes after an upset driver snapped part a support structure below. A newly-formed group also threatened a potential class-action lawsuit against Save Old Growth over the blockades.

READ: Save Old Growth protester shatters hip during B.C. highway blockade

Beyond blocking roadways, members have dumped manure outside Premier John Horgan’s Greater Victoria office, interrupted an international soccer match at BC Place and have been hospitalized from hunger strikes in a continuing bid to gain attention to their calls.

Methods aside, the group says the majority of people in B.C. support their cause. A Leger poll commissioned by the group surveyed 1,000 people and found 82 per cent of respondents supported a ban on all old-growth logging. That high support was consistent across differences in age, gender, where respondents live, income level and whether they have children or not.

B.C. has announced temporary logging deferrals on nearly 1.7 million hectares of old-growth forests, including about just over one million hectares of ancient forest that the province considers most at risk of irreversible loss. The government says the 1.7 million hectares is greater than what’s protected in the Great Bear Rainforest.

READ: B.C. commuters consider lawsuit over logging protest highway blockades by Save Old Growth

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About the Author: Greater Victoria News Staff

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