Home / Member News / News Release: Splatsin Opposes Old-Growth Logging near Revelstoke
Blockade underway; Chief to conduct a ceremony at the site on Sunday to support the forests and the protestors
Secwepemcúl̓ecw (Shuswap) – Logging of remnant intact old-growth interior temperate rainforest and critical habitat for the endangered Southern Mountain Caribou is taking place this week north of Revelstoke. In response to the logging, peaceful blockades are underway at the entrance to the Bigmouth Forest Service Road. The protestors are urgently calling on the provincial government to preserve the remaining old-growth forest as it is globally unique.
Joining the blockade this Sunday will be Wayne Christian, Kukpi7 (Chief) of Splatsin and Tribal Chief of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation.
“We will be conducting a ceremony to protect the old-growth forest, but also to protect the public who have decided to block access to critical old-growth habitat for our relatives the Caribou,” said Christian.
“B.C., specifically BC Timber Sales (BCTS), need to cease all operations in this area. We have communicated this to BCTS officials on numerous occasions.”
Ongoing harvesting of these few remaining forest refuges contradicts recommendations by caribou experts for protection of critical habitat as well as the provincial commitments to act on the 14 recommendations of A New Future for Old Forests: A Strategic Review of How British Columbia Manages for Old Forests Within its Ancient Ecosystems.
It is estimated that less than 230 Southern Mountain Caribou remain in Secwépemc Territory which stretches from the Columbia River valley along the Rocky Mountains, west to the Fraser River, and south to the Arrow Lakes.
“Historically, Southern Mountain Caribou were found throughout Secwépemc Territory and were harvested by our people for countless generations,” says Kukpi7 (Chief) Wayne Christian of Splatsin.
“Caribou provided us with sustenance, clothing, tools, utensils, snowshoes and other necessities important to our physical and cultural survival. Splatsin has a sacred obligation as caretakers and stewards of our area of caretaker responsibility and has refrained from hunting Southern Mountain Caribou for generations due to decreasing population levels and diminishing habitat. We are working with various partners to reverse this trend.”
According to recent research published in Conservation Science and Practice, the caribou will struggle to recover without habitat protection and restoration action. Any further critical habitat loss will prevent the caribou’s security as they have had to face decades of human-caused land alteration, and more recently, the effects of climate change.
Old-growth forests have evolved to survive through forest stand disturbance events and provide a critical buffer against species extinction and impacts to forest ecosystem health, such as mountain pine beetle, in the face of climate change.
As the title holders and the caretakers of this area, Splatsin supports a reduction of the Annual Allowable Cut in its current format and immediate action to halt any further irreversible logging activities in these remaining old-growth interior temperate forests and until the culturally significant southern mountain caribou and their critical habitats are protected and secured for future generations. Splatsin members and leadership will be standing up for what little intact refuge area remains for our four-legged ancestors and urge others to take these concerns seriously and add their voice by joining the action in at the Bigmouth FSR and by writing to Minister Katrine Conroy to stop logging old-growth logging today.
The peaceful blockade is located 2 km up the Bigmouth FSR, approximately 122 km north of Revelstoke along Highway 23 N. The blockade is organized by Old Growth Revylution. Read the group’s Code of Conduct below.
The Splatsin people reside on reserve lands adjacent to the City of Enderby to the south and across the Shuswap River to the east, within the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwépemc, the largest Interior Salish-speaking First Nation in Canada. Their traditional territory stretches from the B.C./Alberta border near the Yellowhead Pass to the plateau west of the Fraser River, southeast to the Arrow Lakes, and the upper reaches of the Columbia River encompassing 180,000 square kilometres, 32 communities, and a population of 15,000 people. The Splatsin and Secwépemc has total jurisdiction and title to all of their people, lands, and resources and have not surrendered, ceded, or released them to the government.
Dudley Coulter, Director of Communicationso (250) 838-6496 ext. 705c (250) 306-1541