Wilderness Committee decries new logging road permit issued in BC’s Clayoquot Sound

Vancouver Island, Clayoquot Sound
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Vancouver – The Wilderness Committee has reacted to news that on April 1 a permit was issued by the BC government to the First Nation owned logging company Iisaak Forest Resources Ltd to build a logging road into a pristine valley in Clayoquot Sound.

“When we got the news that the logging road permit had been issued we knew we were in a tough position,” explained Wilderness Committee National Campaign Director Joe Foy.

Since 1999 the Wilderness Committee has been a signatory to an agreement known as the Clayoquot Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which states that Iisaak will not log in Clayoquot’s pristine valleys. “The signing of the MOU resulted in a kind of peace in the woods. Now, with the issuance of this road building permit to Iisaak by the BC government, the MOU agreement has been broken and the future of the pristine valleys of Clayoquot Sound is in serious jeopardy,” said Foy.

The logging road permit is listed as R-18316 for Reservoir Rd/Matilda Mainline on the southeast portion of Flores Island. Iisaak Forest Resources is owned by five First Nations: the Ahousat, Hesquiaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Toquaht and Ucluelet.

On June 16, 1999, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Iisaak Forest Resources Limited and Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club of BC and the Wilderness Committee.

“We strongly oppose this proposed logging in Clayoquot Sound’s pristine ancient forest,” said Foy. “It’s our understanding that Iisaak Forest Resources Ltd. is driven by a desire to pay off debt that they have built up over the years. However, logging in pristine watersheds is going to put us all back into a position of conflict – which is a place no one wants to be,” said Foy.

Currently the Wilderness Committee is considering its options, including opting out of the Clayoquot MOU. “The BC government needs to step in now with community development dollars for the First Nations of Clayoquot Sound so we all can get a little space to find solutions that result in protection for the pristine valleys and a solid economic future for the communities. Otherwise our organization is going to be very soon in open opposition to this logging company Iisaak,” said Foy.

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