Local Businesses tell MLAs to Defend Old Growth Forests

On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, we sent Premier, John Horgan, and elected officials a letter urging the government to make good on campaign promises and to protect our last remaining old-growth forests. More than 50 Kootenays-based businesses signed the letter in support. The signed businesses are in Castlegar, Fruitvale, Kootenay Bay, Nelson, New Denver, Rossland, Salmo, and Trail and are in various industries. These industries include retail, food and hospitality, healthcare, pharmaceutical, hunting and fishing supplies, and sporting goods. “Old-growth trees are a staple of the community. They provide a lot of good for residents and tourists alike. It is clear something needs to be done to preserve the last remaining old-growth forests,” said Dina Esposito, the owner of Caffe Americano in Trail.

We are asking the government to take accountability and implement the remainder of the recommendations in the Old Growth Strategic Review – that was previously committed to by the BC NDP. Here are some of the steps we would like to see taken:

  • Immediately defer logging in all of the most at-risk old-growth forests;
  • Implement the remainder of the recommendations as laid out in the Old Growth Strategic Review report as already committed to by the BC NDP; and,
  • Operate within the legislation that has been passed to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Taking immediate action on the Strategic Review’s recommendations now is essential for the government to succeed in meeting its commitment to implement the recommendations within the timeline of the report. Scientists around the province have determined that there is far less old-growth forest left than what it appears current provincial policy is based on.

Old-growth forests are an important part of our communities. There are so few old-growth forest areas left in the Kootenays. Residents love to go hiking and mountain biking amongst these giant old trees to stay cool on a hot day. Tourists share how amazed they are at finding huge ancient trees so far inland from the coast. These forests can help grow our local communities and local jobs if they are left standing. 

The most at-risk and most valuable old-growth forests are not protected by the old-growth logging deferrals announced in September 2020 by the BC NDP. Critically endangered species like the Selkirk Caribou, Northern Goshawk, and Spotted Owl are still losing their homes. 

It’s not too late to help protect old-growth forests. Click here to sign your name in support of preserving the last remaining old-growth forests. 

Click here to have a look at the letter that was sent to the Premier and elected officials.