Protesters stand along the Island Highway near Parksville Heritage Centre on Friday, Sept. 18. (Michael Briones photo)

Protesters stand along the Island Highway near Parksville Heritage Centre on Friday, Sept. 18. (Michael Briones photo)

Protesters in Parksville demand change to current B.C. forest practices

Approximately 50 people march along Island Highway

Environmentalists who rallied along the Island Highway in Parksville on Friday, (Sept. 18) received a variety of supportive honks from drivers passing by.

The rally was in support of a B.C.-wide march against current forest practices in the province. Several enviromental groups stood outside the office of Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“It’s about forests in general, and the management of forests,” said said Lynne Brookes, with Arrowsmith Naturalists. “Right now the laws about privately managed forest – it’s a tree crop, it’s not a forest.”

Lois Eaton, with Communities Protecting our Coasts, said: “I think its something that is near and dear to British Columbian hearts.”

Old-growth forests mitigate climate change better than any technology we’ve developed, or could wish to develop, she said.

“Scientifically we know what happening, we just aren’t acting on it.”

Brookes said their main concern is the lack of protection for B.C. forests.

READ MORE: ‘Outrage’: Environmental group urges action for B.C. on plastic pellets in waterways

“When one really looks at it, its not really saving forests, it protecting for lumbering, for timbering, for economic interests of the few,” said Brookes. “The cutting cycle used to be 120 years, then it went down to about 75. And now they’re talking about 37 years.We’re losing our biodiversity… and here on Vancouver Island, over 20 per cent of it is owned by private timber companies. And that is a huge amount.”

She said “if people truly care about children and the future, we need to look at what we’re doing now. The mess we’re in is because future generations didn’t do that.”

“We desperately need a good management forestry practice, done by indigenous peoples, enviromental people and communities,” said Eaton.

The rally was put together with five days notice and included members from Arrowsmith Naturalists, Arrowsmith Parks and Land Use Council, Arrowsmith Groundwater Alliance, Arrowsmith Watershed Coalition Society, Friends of the Qualicum Beach Forest, Communities Protecting Our Coast and Qualicum Nature Preservation Society.

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