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Conservationists to hold rally calling for old growth forest protection

Devon Bachman stands on top of old growth spruce in the Anzac area that were aged at over 400 years old when they were cut. There was no evidence of spruce beetle in these cut trees. Conservation North photo

Hunters, fallers, biologists, business owners and other members of the community will rally in support of old growth forest protection in front of Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond’s riding office at noon on Thursday.

“We’re concerned about the lack of protection for our globally unique interior old growth forests,” said Jenn Matthews, outreach coordinator for the Conservation North, in a news release.

Conservation North has been documenting, through photography and video, the harvesting of old growth spruce and cedar-hemlock forests for two years.

Logged inland rainforest only a few kilometres past Chun T’oh Whudujut/Ancient Forest Park on Highway 16. Conservation North photo

The Prince George-based organization has been pushing for legal protection of endangered old growth forests in the interior since 2017 and, through its Take Action campaign, more than 1,000 emails have been sent local MLAs and ministers.

“We need a transition away from primary forest logging while we still have some of it left,” said Conservation North director, Michelle Connolly. “Pretty much everyone is acknowledging that we’re running out of wood. Why not keep the old forests we have left as a kind of ecological insurance for the future?”

Diversifying the local economy towards sustainability is something many locals support. The new Ancient Forest park attracts over 17,500 visitors every year, 50 per cent of which are tourists according to a 2018 research bulletin.

Thursday’s even will take place in front of 1350 5th avenue at noon.

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