A photo snapped on Vancouver Island of a massive spruce tree on the back of a truck has caused worldwide vexation.
“The reason I took that photo has a lot to do with what’s going on at Fairy Creek,” Nanaimo resident Lorna Beecroft said in an interview with the Western Standard.
“We need to do a better job of logging. We’re not logging sustainably. If we have to log an old growth that won’t come back for hundreds of years, that is not sustainable… And our logging practices have changed so much that we’re not even providing good jobs anymore. There’s too much machine processing, too much clear cut because of the machines.”
As of Thursday, it had been shared more than 15,000 times on Twitter and 18,000 times on Facebook with angry comments as far away as Europe.
The tree was cut down between March of 2020 and mid-August before being transported by Western Forest Products.
After the tree was harvested it was sent to a log sort in Coquitlam to be stored in water until it was sold and transported to Port Alberni for processing, according to an email sent to the Western Standard from Tyler Hooper, the Ministry of Forests Public Affairs officer.
The tree was transported a month before the Special Tree Protection Regulation came into effect on September 11, 2020.
According to the ministry, the regulation’s purpose is to protect exceptionally large trees of all species throughout the province, and a tree of this size might well be illegal to harvest under the regulation today, with potential fines of up to $100,000.
“We need to really look at the legislation that was passed because apparently it doesn’t have much in the way of teeth,” Beecroft said.
“There are easy workarounds and it is possible that trees like this one could still be harvested today, depending on where they are and what species they are.
“In Nanaimo we have a wharf called ‘Assembly Wharf.’ Every few weeks to a month, a massive ship comes in with cranes to pluck log loads out of the water. They fill those ships seven, maybe eight truck loads high… Entire forests at a time.”
Protests — at Fairy Creek and nearby Cayacuse — began about 10 months ago when a dozen people tried to stop road construction and logging in the headwaters of the Fairy Creek watershed.
However, an injunction — authorizing the removal of anyone obstructing logging crews’ access to the cutblocks and worksites of Teal Ceda — was granted April 1, with RCMP arresting several people this week.
Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard