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General News · 30th November 2013
Sonya Friesen
Its been a year since we stood in protest to Island Timberlands logging of the Squirrel Cove, Basil Creek watershed. We should remember to celebrate the success of the forest still standing, the full life cycles,even generations of species that have inhabited the place over that time.The frogs, newts, songbirds, salmon, mushrooms, the micro biology within the soil etc. Include as well the 23 yrs since the 1990 blockade of that very same forest, all those cycles repeating and more.The cougar,wolves,squirrels,salmon etc.What about that one lonely elk?

I had the pleasure of sharing this celebration with my son as we spent my recent 50'th birthday together and agreed to walk up the creek to our favorite spots.He and his sister have grown from birth to adult as inhabitants of this watershed,eating the berries ,the mushrooms,the deer,the salmon,and always drinking the water.I after 25 years am starting to feel a sense of place,but acknowledge it will never come even minutely close to the Klahoose First Nation"s 10,000 years of belonging.

Recently I attended a beautiful slide show of Clayoquot sound, with emphasis on the watersheds that remain pristine. The success of the protests leading up to and including the 1993 logging blockade celebrating the 20'th year anniversary. Thinking back my son was only just 1 yr old when we joined in the Clayoquot direct action, now he's an adult.The thousands of Red Cedar trees I planted that same year however might approach maturity in approx.600 years and live 1200 - 1400 years ( just a few years older than Sedly)

Dan Lewis one of the presenters of the evening, also showing a little grey, was very familiar to me. We stood together in the Tlowitsis Mumtagil First Nation's logging protest during the fall rains of 1990, which combined with the road building and previous logging resulting in landslides that blocked the roads and took out bridges. Mother nature temporarily ending the need for the human blockade within the Tsitika Valley.

It was great to hear him speak with the same youthful enthusiasm we all had shared to protect the wilderness, the last few remaining en-tact watersheds.To stand with and in support of First Nation's unceded title to their home.I also still feel that responsibility to protect, stand up, protest, blockade, although always hoping it won't come to that. As well my support for FN's right to protect or develop resources in their territories has only gotten stronger.However I increasingly see these as two separate battles, which can at times be in conflict, making a choice to protect difficult. Most FN's still live within the territories of their ancestor's and clearly have their feet planted in the ground, resulting in living with the bulk of first hand consequences of resource extraction.While corporate and government executives live on jet planes headed for another opportunity.

So for those who stood in protest to the logging of the Cortes IT lands, many stating they were not against logging but instead were in support of " ecosystem based forest management ", it is time to provide your definitions. What information do you source to reach an accurate evaluation of the timber harvest land base within an specific area.How do you calculate a sustainable rate of harvest? Do we still embrace status quo growth economics? Con game carbon trading?The Cortes Community Forest Partnership is in the operational planning stage of its new forest tenure, they need and welcome your input.This only involves Cortes Crown/FN lands, no private forest lands but will hopefully influence IT's forest practices. Balancing economics with the realities of human caused species extinction and climate change are the challenges of every community world wide.Cortes forests are very insignificant on a comparative scale,but by example there is maybe hope. Perhaps the more we participate in solutions to resource extraction in our own backyards ,the more we will all plant our feet in the ground and find a sense of belonging within the forest.

Sonya Friesen, Squirrel Cove