Cortes Island Protesters Singing in the Rain and Dancing in the Wind on Day 5 of Blockade

The protesters, a cross-section of Cortes residents, included former loggers, oyster farmers, and forest supporters of all ages. 

The blockade on Cortes Island continues.  The camaraderie on the site is fabulous and spirits are kept high with singing and the generous food and drink donations brought over by supporters. Many of the blockaders are 'Wildstands' members. Wildstands is a Cortes Island community alliance who are simply standing up for the wilderness on Cortes Island.

The media, especially on Vancouver Island, have produced some good coverage so far, the video below is one of the best, check it out for a taste of the people there are the blockade, their issues and solutions. One young lady does an excellent job talking about privately held forests and mentions that other local areas have similar problems dealing with the lack of standards and regulations of logging of privately held property.The young lady in the video mentions Roberts Creek and Powell River as examples.

Having lived for 35 years in and around Roberts Creek's forests means having seen a lotta ideas fought over and a lotta logs exported. The Gumboot Nation of Roberts Creek did blockade the roads some years back with fairly widespread public support. The Regional District themselves sorta supported them, they passed a series of laws and regulations designed to overcome the private property problem. Everybody cheered, Everybody went home. The corporate lawyers went to court. The court threw out all the Regional District's laws immediately. The machines munched, the loggers logged, the truck loads of logs went mostly to China as raw logs [so do most of Cortes' logs].

Stillwater is a small rural community south of Powell River. It's home to the Stillwater Bluffs, they are partly covered by and surrounded by a big chunk of forest owned by Brookfield and under the sword as Islands Timberelands chainsaws await. The Friends of Stillwater Bluffs have demonstrated and protested too. They've been in negotiations, as are the Cortes folks, for years. But the Stillwater folks also had a 3rd plan of action, they became active participants in the Powell River Regional Districts meetings and committee meetings.

And they won, sorta. As of mid-April [2012] the Powell River Regional District has identified District Lot 3040 Powell River [Stillwater bluffs] as one of six regional park acquisition objectives through its Regional Parks and Greenspace Plan. Island Timber has stopped idling its chainsaws, the government has agreed to buy/trade them out.

Buying them out is really the only way the folks on Cortes Island can win in the long run. Unfortunately the Socreds sold huge forest tracts to pay BC's bills instead of raising taxes and royalties [sound familiar] As the Stillwater folks learned, the land is now worth so much money no group of residents in a small place like Cortes [or Stillwater or Roberts Creek] can possibly raise it all. Only with the help of either local/regional government or the 'Good Fairy' will Brookfield's price be met. So the only question is, does anyone at Wildstands have the Good Fairy's email address?