Conservationists in Grand Forks picketed for sustainable logging at a Gyro Park demonstration Friday, Sept. 18.
The demonstration by Boundary Forest Watershed Stewardship Society members coincided with a larger protest in Victoria organized by society president, Jennifer Houghton.
Houghton’s property was flooded in the 2018 freshet which devastated Grand Forks, and she is a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of area flood victims. She and her co-plaintiffs attribute the flooding to poor forest management by the government of British Columbia and wanton clear-cutting by logging companies operating in the Boundary.
Friday’s protest drew residents with deep ties to the Boundary’s forest industry.
Stewardship Society board member Stan Swinarchuk made his living as a local tree faller starting in the 1960s, when he said logging companies practised selective harvesting.
Swinarchuk said he noticed an industry trend toward clear-cutting after the mid-1970s.
“That’s what you call greed.”
Carpenter Michael Andersov said logging companies were outstripping Boundary forests. He wants to see sounder forest policy by the government of British Columbia. A long-time Grand Forks resident, Andersov worked as a logger in the nearby Christian Valley.
Many passing motorists honked and waved at the protesters, while others were less supportive.
A driver yelled at board member Tony Kost, “Do you live in a wood house?!”
“I do! I’m not trying to stop all logging!” Kost yelled back.
A carpenter by trade, Kost explained that no one who came out to Friday’s protest wants to stop logging in the Boundary. Picketers want industry changes that would preserve both local watersheds and the region’s economic lifeblood.
“I’m here for my great-great-great grandchildren,” he explained.