Adding to the variety of artifacts (including my recently re-surfacing essay “Damn the Dam”) about Glen Canyon, which turned into the “home” of Lake Powell, comes this tribute, link assortment and film preview featuring legendary Ms. Katie Lee, the famed model/singer/activist environmentalist who made a noteworthy trip into the canyons – many of which were never documented/explored – with photographers, shortly before the destruction, dam building and subsequent flooding.
Ms. Lee passed away in Nov. 2017 at 98 years old and remained a fiery personality advocating for the wildness of lands until the end.
As such, I’ve assembled a round-up of links about her extraordinary life which follows this film preview and blurb – consider reading all to learn of this exceptionally beautiful renegade.
Originally written for a Creative Writing class at Utah Valley Community College (now Utah State University) taught by Larry Harper. Photos by Johnny Adolphson.
Once upon a time, there was a river, a river and a canyon. Everyone who saw this river in this canyon really liked it. Some lived for it, some died for it, many fought for it, no one hated it. Or admitted they did. All in all though, everyone agreed about its spectacularity. “Every one of these almost innumerable gorges is a world of beauty in itself…. Yet all these canyons unite to form one Grand Canyon, the most sublime spectacle on earth.” This is what John Wesley Powell said about the Colorado River and the canyons it gave life to.
The canyons Friar Francisco Garces described as “…the most profound canyons which ever onward continue.” Powell and Garces knew the Colorado a long time ago; they explored area, an area that is now very different and yet changing even now.
Up until a few years back, people took care of the river, and it took care of them. A relationship that worked well until someone decided that the river could be better used running air conditioners and so they built a dam. No one noticed much then; it was back when few knew much about the wonders this area held. Anyway, there was more than enough of this hostile, rugged area to go around. Dams were built everywhere, lots of them. It was an easy fix for the energy junkies.
“Man has flung down a great barrier in the path of the turbulent Colorado,” proclaimed the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation during the 1960’s. “It has tamed the wild river-made it a servant to man’s will.” The bureau was boasting of Glen Canyon Dam, a 710-foot high monument to technological prowess, but it could have been talking about any dam in the country (Davis 26). Now, the cliffs, the canyons, the plants and birds and rocks and things, and the river is gone.
The Colorado is no longer there as it was. Such dams back up the Colorado that still flows relatively freely and make the canyon a sluiceway between dry hills” (MacDougall 54).
So why do they do it? Why do they try? Electricity and water mostly. People generally need them. A lot of them. Too much? Any alternatives? Sure.
The flood gates should be opened, the river unleashed and the damage repaired. Let Nature reign again. Yee hah and Hieghty ho.
THE RIVER IN QUESTION
Today the Colorado has been rightly compared to hundreds of miles of plumbing system (Sunset 104).
In the last narrative from the Clayquot trip in Summer 2006, the water ban is lifted and Uncle Weed discuses the economic costs caused by the shutdown as well as the tensions about tourist based economy and village lifestyle, considers ingredients for positive development, and tries to resolve some conundrums by evoking Henry David Thoreau while stepping on barnacle encrusted shells on a muddy beach.
Sometimes all the bits which don’t fit make the tastiest morsels. With this in mind, Uncle Weed dishes up a smorgasbord of leftover spiels, intros, set-ups, and observations from the Clayoquot trip including narrative about camptime beverages, glass pipe cleaning tips, local sticky nuggets, eagles flying amongst the Broken Islands, historic Pacific lighthouse, skateboard contests at Tough City Skatepark, Florencia Beach driftwood hut, foiled visits to municipal office and chamber of commerce, and full version of Bex‘s Lonesome (Lost) Traveler song.
Visiting again with friend Kevin, Uncle Weed discusses the negative impact salmon fish farms impart on the local aquaculture. Specifically, Atlantic salmon living in pens attract hazardous sea lice, are unable to spawn, are fed with small fish imported from South America, and are dyed to appear more attractive in the supermarket. Further the politically controversial fish farms add little benefit to the local economy.
“A series of explorations and soliloquies from the Clayoquot Sound area on the west coast of Vancouver Island during a summertime water outage in the midst of a temperate rainforest. While figuring out what happened, Uncle Weed recollects the tense logging blockades in early 1990s and compares current conditions through lens of deep ecology and sustainable development practices.”
Part of my aim in this project is to gather a record of the events written and created by people camped amongst the stumps taking snapshots, writing in diaries, sharing recollections and collecting ephemera related to the blockades.
If this protest happened these days, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter would be rife with commentary, evidence and documentation but as i’ve found, most all materials found on the web are digitized by diligent documenters well after the event and i feel many historical treasures are trapped in show boxes, attics, aging memories and degrading film.
What i seek from you and others …
Recorded Recollections – Audio recording of your personal reflections from the blockades or from whereever you were. How did you get there? Why did you go? How did you keep you spirits up? How has participation influenced your life? Please record on any digital audio device (computers or iPhones work great) and email to choogleon (at) uncleweed (dot) net. Have old cassettes or other media? Please let me know.
Clayoquot Summer Photos – Snapshots from the Peace Camp and blockade lines, plus campouts on Long Beach, coffee breaks in Tofino, hitch-hike rides to the camp … Stick them on Flickr and tag ClayoquotSummer or email to choogleon (at) uncleweed (dot) net. Please CC license.
News Articles, Flyers, Signs -Did you keep a scrapbook of article, signs, posters or other miscellanea? Stick them on Flickr and tag ClayoquotSummer or email to choogleon (at) uncleweed (dot) net. Please CC license.
Clayoquot Mass Trails booklet – I’ve seen scans of a book made profiling everyone arrested and including some diaries from prison – do you have a digital copy or one i can digitize?
Impact of Arrest – For those 800+ who were arrested and sentenced in the mass trial, how has the arrest affected your life? Any problems with travel? How did you survive financially during the trail and sentence? What did you do during your 3 month house arrest? How did the arrest influence your life’s work? Positive or negative remarks welcome.
Any content i receive will find a place in my historical dossier via podcasts, photo galleries or artwork to be named later.
Clayoquot Resources (so far):
Many links are outdated and pointing to changed archives. Much of the evidence comes from mainstream media with their sound-bite-sized and often sensationalized segments. While interesting, this does not capture the significance of the event to generations of eco-advocates who really brought many points of view.
I’ve found EF!-ers’s talking about the soft approach against logging by the PeaceCampers and other celebrating and studying the non-violence and consensus building found in the cooperative community environment. Other discourse focuses on the way the big corporations dealt with the protests and other chronicle the court cases. Plus a few articles about the Clayoquot Summer legacy (mostly from the 10 year anniversary).
Reading the injunction at Clayoquot Sound protest. Photo: Luke Moore.
Over the past summer, the Kennedy River Bridge entrance to logging operations on Clayoquot Sound became the site of one of the largest civil disobedience campaigns in Canadian history.
The protest followed the B.C. government’s decision on April 13 to allow MacMillan Bloedel to proceed with a harvesting plan that will see the eventual cutting of another 51 percent of the area’s old-growth forest. The B.C. government, perhaps coincidentally, is the largest single shareholder in MacBlo. Twenty-three percent of the forest has already been harvested.
Although industry refers to logging as “general integrated management,” and there is a lot of rhetoric about improved forestry practices, large scale forest management remains environmentally unsound. If there is any improvement, it is that the future clearcuts will be smaller. Since the government decision, a brand-new 125 hectare clearcut graces the side of a mountain visible from the Kennedy River Bridge.
The forest around Clayoquot Sound is one of the largest remaining stands of old-growth forest in North America. This is an irreplaceable cradle of rainforest biodiversity, and it can only be saved if the government will reverse its decision.
Peace camp established
To press for that reversal, a peace camp was set up by the Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS), a Tofino-based environmental group which has fought for the protection of the forests for fourteen years. The camp served as a base for protesters, who blockaded the Kennedy River Bridge until the camp was closed down Oct. 4.
In the summer of 1993, the battle in Clayoquot Sound escalated. Environmental groups organized a Clayoquot Sound Peace Camp, which attracted protesters from throughout North America and Europe. At least 9,000 people participated in demonstrations against clear-cut logging. More than 800 people were arrested in the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history when protesters massed to block logging roads and climbed trees to protect them from cutting. Suddenly, Clayoquot Sound was in the headlines around the world.
In October 1993, the government responded by initiating the Scientific Panel for Sustainable Forest Practices in Clayoquot Sound, an independent panel of First Nations and scientific experts. The Panel’s mandate was to develop world-class standards for sustainable forest management by combining traditional and scientific knowledge. Two years later, the Panel’s report recommended that clear cutting be replaced by variable retention forestry, an approach that would leave some trees standing in each area to protect the health of the forest ecosystem.
At the same time that the panel was developing its recommendations, the provincial government was engaged in negotiations with the First Nations to resolve their land claims. A joint resource management process was established with the First Nations of Clayoquot. Even as these initiatives were moving forward, however, environmentalists were escalating their campaigns against clear-cut logging in the rest of the province.
The ten year anniversary of the largest civil disobedience in Canadian history is approaching. During the summer of 1993 over 850 people were arrested and 12,000 people demonstrated in opposition to logging in the ancient forests of Clayoquot Sound.
The magnificent forests and the strength of the non-violent protests captured the imagination of the public and the media. Canadians, Americans and Europeans flocked to the Peacecamp, and every morning before dawn they caravanned down a dusty logging road to the demonstration site. When logging trucks arrived at the Kennedy River Bridge, the international media turned on their camera lights and brought the stand off to TV sets and radios all around the world.
Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS) was there to facilitate people bringing their consciousness into action. A few years of action experience had trained us how to leverage that presence into the international forum. After the mass trials of the 850 arrestees Common Ground published an “Honour Roll” of those courageous souls who put their liberty on the line for the ancient forests of Clayoquot Sound.
Today art pieces featuring the protests hang on the walls of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the BC Museum designates ‘Clayoquot ’93’ as one of the most significant events in BC’s history. Clayoquot was a fire in the belly, a symbol of our rage against environmental destruction and a cathartic outlet to do something about it.
Blocking the Logging Road15.jpg Plenary meeting in the Peace Camp. Each night, all plans and conflicts were discussed in an effective consensus-seeking process. One of the main issues on the agenda always was who was going to be arrested the next day. By Aldo de Moor
The arrested taken to the police station by school bus. By Aldo de Moor
The entrance to the “Peace Camp”, base of the protesters. By Aldo de Moor
The Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS) started as a radical group of various and sundry American draft-dodger hippies, traditional Nuu-Chah-Nuulth natives, tree spikers, and other dissident voices against the clearcut logging of the largest remaining lowland coastal temperate rainforest (280,000 ha.) [located on BC’s Vancouver Island]. In fact, one of the former directors of FOCS started the Society for the Protection of Intact Kinetic Ecosystems (SPIKE), which openly advocated spiking and claimed to have put nails into 20,000 trees.
Another director was convicted of burning a bridge to a logging site. Yet, by the summer of 1993, the campaign to save Clayoquot had evolved into one of massive civil disobedience; all summer long, every single day, one of the main logging roads was blockaded by crowds varying from perhaps 5,000 on the first day when the band Midnight Oil played, to just a handful of folks. Over 1,000 people were arrested that summer for criminal contempt of court by defying a court injunction to stay off the road. An extraordinary diversity of people came out and got involved: from raging grannies to loggers, peaceheads to saboteurs (more on that in a moment), New Agers to Anglican clerics, people came from all walks to take part. Hell, even a dozen Basques showed up who spoke no English but said in Spanish, “clearcutting kills men and the beasts.” Unfortunately, the campaign was to a certain extent controlled by the “peace nazis,” who were afflicted with a bad case of tunnel vision. Even though there were often hundreds of people around, the only form of protest allowed by FOCS was the stand-in-the-road-while-they-read-you-the-injunction-and-then-cart-you-off demonstration; consequently, there were only a few days all year that the logging was actually stopped. Usually, it was only a matter of a few minutes for the police to remove the demonstrators and then the trucks rolled on by.
Earth First! was definitely not welcome at that point, nor were tree-sitters, or lock-ons, or elves. Even though many FOCS activists are EF!ers, that summer saw a definite change of tactics in Clayoquot, one which perhaps foreshadowed the FoE/EF! conflict here. Many years of hard work by FOCS, and help from international groups like EF!, Greenpeace, and Rainforest Action Network among others, has resulted in the main logging company (Macmillan Bloedel) pulling out of Clayoquot, and the other company has had its cut reduced by 45%.
In a sense, Clayoquot has been saved and should be considered a victory. On the other hand, the government and timber industry are using the tiny area of Clayoquot as a smokescreen to cover up the fact that they are clearcutting the rest of the province.
1992 Blockade at Clayoquot Arm Bridge of Kennedy Lake, 65 arrested, protesting MacMillan Bloedel’s logging at edge of intact Clayoquot River valley.
1993 International campaign takes off with ad in New York Times and FOCS trip to Europe. FOCS and allied environment groups call for boycott of MacMillan Bloedel and other companies. Largest peaceful civil disobedience in Canadian history is sparked by BC government’s decision to log 74% of Clayoquot Sound’s ancient forest. FOCS opens Peace Camp at “Black Hole”. Daily blockades and arrests begin at Kennedy River Bridge. 856 arrested and 12,000 participate during “Clayoquot Summer 93″.
1996 FOCS and Greenpeace takeover of Rankin Cove logging camp leads to First Nations-brokered truce between MacMillan Bloedel and environmentalists. Negotiations begin regarding protecting large intact (pristine) valleys in Clayoquot Sound from logging.
1997 FOCS begins a fish farm campaign aimed at reforming open net-cage salmon aquaculture in Clayoquot Sound and BC.
1999 FOCS helps to negotiate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between 4 environment groups and Iisaak Forest Resources, the First Nations/MacMillan Bloedel joint venture logging company that replaced MacBlo. MOU commits Iisaak to protecting large pristine areas in its portion of Clayoquot Sound, while enviro groups agree to help market Iisaak’s wood. FOCS does not sign MOU in order to maintain its independent watchdog position.
Clayoquot Sound is a magnificent, biologically rich, mostly wilderness area on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It encompasses 350,000 hectares of land and ocean.
A view of Clayoquot Sound – Photo by Diego A. Garcia
The land portion of Clayoquot Sound is 265,000 hectares (2,650 square kilometers or 1,000 square miles), comprising about 8% of Vancouver Island. It is covered with ancient temperate rainforest, a globally rare forest type. The remaining 85,000 hectares of Clayoquot Sound consist of ocean — narrow inlets of the Pacific Ocean, into which empty rivers and lakes.
Clayoquot Sound occupies a straight-line distance along the coast of 90 kilometers, between Barkley and Nootka Sounds. It reaches a maximum of 35 kilometres inland, up to the crest of snow-capped mountains. These mountains are part of the central spine of Vancouver Island and form the headwaters of the rivers that drain Clayoquot Sound.
The “Sound” portion of the region’s name indicates an indented section of coastline, with numerous inlets and islands. “Clayoquot” — pronounced Klak-wot — comes from Tla-o-qui-aht, the name of one of the First Nations tribes who live here.
There are 5 communities in Clayoquot Sound: the town of Tofino and 4 First Nations reserves inhabited by Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations tribes. The total population of these 5 communities is about 3,000 (in 2005).
Two well-known parks lie in Clayoquot Sound: the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park, and the southern portion of Strathcona Provincial Park. These and other parks protect one-third of Clayoquot’s land area and less than one-quarter of its productive ancient forest.
Industrial activities such as logging and fish farming have occurred and continue to occur across the landscape and ocean waters of Clayoquot Sound, but most of the Sound is still wilderness — intact forest and wild ocean. The spectacular scenery attracts about one million tourists to Clayoquot each year.
At the headquarters of Friends of Clayoqout Sound advocacy organization, Uncle Weed talks with Kevin Bruce, a concerned citizen newly arrived in Tofino to work as the office coordinator for the FOCS.
With the sound of passing cars and buses, they discuss the economics of logging, stumpage fees, value of wilderness, conundrums of interconnectedness and property lines, the memorandum of understanding, logging on First Nations land and ways to help attain the Friends’ goal of ending all old-growth clearcuts on public lands.
After a few days of frustration and confusion, Uncle Weed sits down on the trail and digs into a variety of essays from Beloved of the Sky by Gary Snyder, Howie Wolk, and Michael Frome plus riffs on painter Emily Carr, love/hate with the commercialized Wild Pacific trail, shore pines, lighthouses, volcanic outcroppings, leaning trees, branches covered in lichen, and sub-division developments.
Topics include the US Forest Service’s traditional commitment to conservation and subsequent effects of policy after cozying up to industry, a plea for less waste and sustainable forestry, public expectations and costs of lost wilderness, and ponderings about whether recreation and wildlife matter.
While watching fishing boats ply the inlet, Uncle Weed checks in from Ucluelet to describe the cultural and municipal differences between neighboring villages of Tofino and Ucluelet after a thwarted drive towards Kennedy Lake bridge – the scene of the blockades – and examines Ucluelet’s ballyhooed reaction to Tofino’s shortage through the eyes of locals at the hardware store.
With Tofino out of water, the news media have arrived and the tourists are kicked out, so from Whiskey Dock, UW riffs about RV rentals, housing developments, mountains ringed with roads and clearcuts, park fees, logging trucks warnings, jurisdictional confusion about UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and park concessionaires, plus a tip on a head shop in town.
After recalling beach camp-outs, rainy days and salmon feasts, Uncle Weed finds out commercial water usage is banned in Tofino and closing down for the tourist operations for the busy weekend ~ thusly he sets out on the trail from Half Moon Bay to Wickaninnish Bay to discover what’s up.
Includes riffs and spiels about local geography, traveler accommodations like zimmers, campgrounds, resorts, park concessionaires, permits, beach access, war memorial plaques, low impact tourism, priorities, RVs, parking tickets, municipal investment, float planes, coffee shops, boat docks and surf breaks, roaming bears, and shipwrecks in Florencia Bay.
Out on a trail, Uncle Weed shares a few lessons learned bearing witness to the blockade lines including thoughts about non-violence and pacifism, importance of respecting others, and the common desire for trees which the ecologists and workers unwittingly share.
Plus discourse on ways to replace economic gains from industrial logging with value-added finished products and alternative sources of pulp and fiber including hemp.
Arriving at a campground between the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet, Uncle Weed sets out to explore the west coast’s unique environment and offer discourse on natural resource-based and tourism-based economies starting with recollections from the noted logging protests in the early 1990s with comments about blockade logistics from early morning pick-up trucks rides to posting bail to jangling guitars.