Tag Archives: Rainforest Dispatches

Best Year in Years ~ 2010 Flashback


Atop a lighthouse
Here's to happytimes

I proceed with this round-up trepidatiously as i tend to look forward to what’s next and try to temporarily forget recent projects once complete. Also, i am (somewhat) hesitant to ramble on about myself (sorta). But, as a note to future self, and for a record of gratitude, here is an endlessly incomplete collection of events, incidents and anecdotes from this past year (pardons in advance for any omissions).

Interested in any of these topics? Rather than me including the handy links (like i probably should), i encourage you to poke around and discover the artifacts and collections about any topics, adventure, project listed… doing so will allow me to share this sooner and move onto the next thing (plus *everything* would end up linked).

I’ll also include a few meditations and manifestations for the 2011 so you can ask me, “hey dave, how’s it going with those things you mentioned you’d do in 2011?”

The other day, i recorded a wee festive video messages to say thanks for letting me participate in your life and thanks for being part of mine:


Healing: Abdominal surgery (2nd in years), challenging recovery was significantly aided by kindness and traditional Chinese Medicine (thanks Drs. Trauben & Ying & Nagy)– tried to enjoy films during recovery but, due to pain, watched WW2 movies and documentaries to feel camaraderie from injured comrades

Speaking: Shared my stories on stages including… Pecha Kucha (Fck Stats, Make Art, remix’d), Word Camp Vancouver (Art and Tech) – thanks Duane/Dale/Johnx2/Rebecca, Social Media Camp Victoria (for day-job), plus lecturing classes at BCIT, and TNMH spiels at Capilano University 2x, Fresh Media (also a podcast lecture at this one i think… ) – Also Northern Voice video about finding voice/creativity, etc. – thanks for Andrew Lavigne, Julie Szabo, Monica Hamburg and all who showed up to watch while i lay upon a davenport

Wrangling: True North Media House – survived the tension and negativity to create a social movement of documentation, reporting, funtimes, internationalizing and explore the issues about modern media and global mega-events… from prosestors to journalists, we didn’t fit in anywhere but ended up “being” a story. Interviews/coverage in PBS Media Shift, CBC Radio multiple times, and dozens of other outlets

Internationalizing: Also Olympics in general as a fan saw a handful of freaking awesome hockey games hanging with my face people drinking tall cans in parks, meeting visitors, finding new pubs and parks, riding the bus with happy people, hugging strangers

Documenting: Along the way, i created a bucket load of Olympic Outsider podcasts on-the-go with instant publishing to bring all of you along

Documented: The With Glowing Hearts filmmakers followed me around for much of the above and combined my story with others to make a remarkable soliloquy about a city in change and various approaches to dealing with it

Awarded: Choogle On awarded 3rd place (4th kinda) in Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver which is kinda neat. Made a few more episodes (though many are hidden currently)


Yup, always on the go… here’s where (and of course there are podcasts from the trips so you can come along in my backpocket):

Austin for SXSW for the 3rd time – getting more local, finding face cafes, greenbelts with yoga tattoo artists, hidden bars and bar-b-ques. hectic fun hanging with industry luminaries where you can’t tell the millionaires from the bankrupt. Also made podcasts to detail the nuances and form an audio quest guide for rookies and chooglers. also broken leg cyborg rescue mission – cheers to John Biehler, Nadia, Flanders, Amber Case and Dave Delaney + Pugz and Laurie

Toronto including Hockey Hall of fame for 1 rapid hour, wandering new streets, cafes and bars – Canada is different there but some charming people amongst the bustle and smoke

Seattle to Subpop meeting superhero: Mudhoney’s Mark Arm, enjoying the backroom tour and going home with a box of CDs (thanks Dean for making it happen)

Festivaling: Komasket Music fest interviews with great bands and enjoyed vibe of small time fest (see also articles in Vancouver observer) shisha tents with tea, lake canoes paddles, redemption song outdoors, couch green room “backstage” – note: Bocephus King is giant and enjoys swimming. Extra thanks Kazia and “Family Man” Barrett

Roadtripping: Trip to Nelson for Christmas Day lighthouse ferry ride, soaking in a hot springs cave, local organic Nelson beer in a haunted hotel and snowy day drives + met harp/hashman Xomaha. Made a video to tell you i like ya (above) – plus a stop at Duhkabour museum (near Castlegar) in search of Draft dodger statue (a story for another time ( someone wanna fund my trip and article?))

Writing: Along with meta coverage, interviews, and miscellany, articles and essays abounded! including pieces in:

  • RAIN – an interview and art piece about my personal artistic journey
  • Vancouver Observer – dossiers about the inaugural SeaBus voyage, summer festivals, train travel and Remembrance day ++
  • Megaphone – Let’s Get Lost, a tour of forgotten Vancouver counter-culture landmarks
  • Inside Vancouver – Vancouver Tourism featured vancouverite sharing my fave activities, places and tips
  • Exode – Serialized Letters from Russia (in a stylish manner)
  • Granville (Varley forthcoming) – this is a big one which is a true labor of affection

+ Blogging: was “official” blogger (along with Bob from VIAwesome) at TEDX Vancouver and documented a bucket full of talks including Nardwuar and Josh Fox

Culturing: Going the Opera – twice(!) including a contemporary Canadian opera and a more trad Italian preceded by rainy night fun with draft beer and raclette at German festive market with Chris and Cinci

Meeting: Getting friendly with the CBC Radio 3 crew – admire/enjoy what they do + props to Grant Lawrence for book/tour/blog/etc.

Rocking: DOA at Anti-Olympics show with KK, Bev et al, with me in lanyard, pins, Canadian flags and assorted spangles at the Rickshaw – see also: Misfits with mon ami Scales – UPDATE: Vampire Weekend outside Malkin Bowl with a spiked bubble tea

Partying: UW 40 party with so many friends, a whole pig and endless beer and tropical drinks the next morning in the wrecked campground – also a skunk & many fine ales for later – special thanks to analog lisa and R&B Brewing – So pleased Bev Davies came and gave me a treasured gift

Officiating: Conducted a wedding (for Kemp and Sheila) and wrote a celebratory prose with influences from Walt Whitman to Gibran to Chili Peppers

Transcending: Levon Helm with brother Dan on a perfect night with a perfect buzz and all time hero with surprises including Elvis Costello. Also, during Olympics, watched Wilco rock a long, sophisticated set in a drizzly park – really started the good feelings as fireworks reflected in Yaletown and so on… (many other bands included The Stills again)

Camping: Owl Creek Howl year 3 – sitting in stream, beers around lantern during fire ban and making funny-ish videos for Lt. Magnum with Scales and Mariska

Sporting: (drunken) Whitecaps games, (expensive) Canucks hockey, BC Lions at Empire with Dad and brother) and baseball parks around BC including Vancouver Island

Exploring: I was on the bridge for the new SeaBus’ inaugural voyage along with my pal Miss604 – took a week to stop smiling (or was this last year?), Culture Crawl to Boris and Rachel’s, day-trips aplenty to hidden neighbourhoods and dozens of walks on the Varley trail

Sunsetting: Possibly last trip to Olympia for some time. Cashed in Last Word Book credit and last coffee card on a iced chai after a hardworking weekend winding down Zhonka office with Unabonger

Remembering: Observed Remembrance Day at Japanese Cenotaph at Stanley Park with co-conspirators KK, Trauben and Lis. Followed by rainy hike and plenty beers to the Legion hall for Lt. Magnum (now Commander) Brother who made it back and forth to Afghanistan safely – chance to record some fun videos and learn more about contemporary military life and culture (see also: podcast and Vancouver Observer article)

Celebrating: My pal Derek kicked cancer’s ass for another year and i went to his birthday party and danced in his parent’s swinging party room

Visting: Maddog Maccarthy, international man of silicon up from Pacifica for Greek food and Lendog up from PDX for whirlwind hockey and beers and buddy Banghi up for CDN Thankgiving (it’s a tradition) with giant bottle of Bishmills in tow

Working: You prob know i have a wicked job at which i work hard and experience personal satisfaction and significant results and enjoy collaborating with many dear colleagues – i also appear frequently in podcasts, interviews, articles etc. discussing the concerns of the company and observations of the industry but you can find those on your own

Friending: I started a list of all the people i didn’t already explicitly mention… but this will take all day so i’m taking a hike… consider yourself admired

Words & Music: This is where i’d tell you what i read and listened to but skipping this too…

Beers and Meals: ibid (see untappd.com)


2011 is bound to be full of surprises, but there are many things i must do personally to ease my mind (i.e. taxes and biz and exercise), and many i am so eager to do to fill my soul (writing, making), and many which fit in-between (web remaking, archiving).

Here are most:

  1. Shut down Zhonka gently – tough one and overdue
  2. Do my taxes early and pay off CRA
  3. Establish new web *everything* – it’s all a mess, all of it
  4. Archive all podcasts (and release purchasable collections?) – related to above, move audio to archive.org
  5. Craft 5 great fictional-ish stories (flash flood, caye caulker, taos incident,
  6. Participate in a sport(s)/activities frequently (snowshoeing, x-country skiing, trail running, tai chi, inline hockey, swimming)
  7. Attend SXSW music as well as interactive
  8. Refresh wardrobe (new thrift store shirts/pants (possibly in Austin, Texas)
  9. Make a quilt from old t-shirts
  10. Get to know Vancouver Archives, Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery

Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Give me a hand won’t you – especially with the pleasant parts. UPDATE: Need to see a dentist multiple times and aim to drink more water.

Uncleweed's 40th Birthday Backyard Picnic
Cheers for the all kindness (photo @kk)

Next big projects: Revisit the Festival Express remix of a train trip across Canada teaching about wonders of personal expression and media; begin Ole Dead Gramps audio remix project (maybe); revisit Clayoquot Rainforest Dispatches to include others’ stories; make Bev. Davies interview into something.

2009 Highlights and Musings – Art and Diligence

A few notable events this year to document ~ i resisted the urge to add photos, links and such cause i have a keg to pick up and swill and hockey games to watch.

[Update: listen to: Festive Greetings to Ice Fishermen – Choogle On #82: Shortly after New Year’s Day, Uncle Weed recounts highlights from the passing year including a surprising visit with bong-toting ice fishermen on a frozen neighborhood lake, plus recaps on concerts, spreading messages to media and youth, voting often, speaking out, supporting soldiers and peaceniks, resisting cynicism, researching the painter Varley, publishing literature, sparking coverage of Olympics, making a board game, gallery visits, riding the new SeaBus, remembering ole dead gramps, drinking stout and earl grey tea, and the joys of treading on thin ice.]

Gather round the fireplace for a chat won't you? Photo by KK

No chronology given and hierarchy implied.

  • Saw The Dead at the Gorge with my fave friends and caught up with old pals Willis Knapp, Brad Crabtree and Larry Harper – the man who encouraged me to write – Missed Marty K.
  • Spoke at SXSW which is a huge music, film and interactive media event in Austin, Texas – amused the folks with F@ck Stats, Make Art and then ate macaroni and cheese with an oracle, and saw the Black Angels with a drink backstage
  • Walked across a frozen lake near my house and ripped a double-bubbler bong hit midway with some youthful ice fishermen – classic Canada we don’t get on the left coast
  • Published some art and writings in literary magazines including Rain Zine with a Letters from Russia feature and forthcoming “Flying High” board game/art timeline
  • Got 15 year old boy (Austin) transitioned into school full time in Canada + premier league baseball + Argyle basketball
  • Quoted widely in newspaper and TV, Radio about tech, movies, sports, Olympics, literature including numerous times on CBC + 24 hours, Vancouver Sun, CTV, L’express Pacificque…
  • Recorded a bunch of podcasts including epic 9-part Rainforest Dispatches documentary series & Remembrance day special with Ian Bell + started some “remix’d” series of the leftover bits
  • Spoke at Northern Voice 3X (to great reviews, esp. Rock N Roll Photo w/ Bev Davies and Kris Krug) + took the Old-Timey Suitcase to WordCamp Whistler, Island Tech, Purple Thistle Youngunz, W2 Bladerunners, What’s Going on Salon – made a few podcast in process + covered TedX Vancouver as a guest
  • Mailed package to soldiers in Afghanistan and spread stories of peaceniks like Rachel Corrie and Lee Matasi – all humans need treats and stories
  • Voted whenever i could, spoke out when i needed to on public policy conundrums and never left my opinion out of the conversation when needed
  • Camped a few times including kayaking up Sunshine coast with wisemen & Owl Creek in a “chill’cuzzi” with funguys
  • Invited along on the inaugural voyage of the SeaBus after long conniving – Started a column for Vancouver Observer to celebrate and freshen my soapbox – PS Wrote “Rolling to the End of the Line” for the Buzzer
  • Pushed along and inspired a movement for social reporting from the Vancouver/Whistler Olympic Winter Games in 2010 with significant learning and notable frustration
  • Hiked another stretch of Baden Powell trail from Historic Mushroom (not really a mushroom) to Deep Cove on Canada Day including picnic looking at Indian Arm
  • Rocked Halloween with a shaved head as hero Hunter S. Thompson at Police Museum/Cty Morgue on a stainless steel autopsy table
  • Cold ramen at Kintaro after fireworks
  • Saw David Byrne – a true inter-disciplinary artist and thinker + cyclist
  • Saw Luke Doucet at Richard’s before it’s demise – he’s the real deal
  • Saw Geoff Berner at Biltmore – accordionist is too cool for words
  • Acupuncture dozens of time by a master (and friend) Dr. Ying
  • Met #12 Stan Smyl – a childhood hero, career Canuck and hockey grinder in the best sense of the word
  • Smiled each time i rolled by on the side of a bus as part of a Canucks fanzone campaign + saw game from a box
  • Wrestled bears, raccoons, and cougars (well not exactly… but chased them from my house/yard) – told story repeated while at my birthday party with so many kind friends
  • Started a big project about Ole Dead Gramps with Mike B. – Preview: audio collage spanning decades
  • Stayed employed at the same job for one year surpassing my average – is this is a success?
  • Finished a painting from Europa 2005 – gave to Mom for festive gift
  • Researched Fredrick Varley, Group of 7 artist who created art scene in Vancouver and wandered Lynn Valley, just like me

My thoughts go to a few pals i lost to physical demise this year – Ian “The Fonz” Christiancy and Dick “Danger” Young – thank you for your sincere contributions to my life.

In all, I feel like i under-achieved this year but in retrospect, t’was a year of re-jigging priorities and switching the big picture of where i’m bound. In 2010, i’m manifesting an economic situation which is mostly writing, speaking and thinking and working on topics I enjoy with lmited intervention – allowing leisure time for creating projects. I enjoy talking to a recorder and/or audience and also like a regular pay cheque will frequent perks and bonus in a supportive, collaborative environment. If all goes to “plan,” publishing and selling my artifacts becomes substantial income stream and offers occasional pacific rim and European travel (particularly to Scandanavia). I also want to reconnect in a meaningful (read: not Facebook) manner with some old influences and friends from other incarnations of me.

This is all.

A Little Bit Better … if not Perfect – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 9/9

A Little Bit Better ... if not Perfect – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 9/9
A Little Bit Better … if not Perfect – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 9/9

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. 

Downcast Podload: A Little Bit Better … if not Perfect – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 9/9 (18:25, .mp3) 

Continue reading A Little Bit Better … if not Perfect – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 9/9

Field Notes on Bevvies, Birds and Bowls – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 8/9

Field Notes on Bevvies, Birds and Bowls – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 8/9
Field Notes on Bevvies, Birds and Bowls – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 8/9

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. 

Downcast Podload: Field Notes on Bevvies, Birds and Bowls – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 8/9 (20:51, .mp3)

Continue reading Field Notes on Bevvies, Birds and Bowls – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 8/9

Salmon Swimming Free – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 7/9

Salmon Swimming Free – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 7/9
Salmon Swimming Free – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 7/9

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. 

Downcast podload: Salmon Swimming Free – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 7/9 – 16:00

Continue reading Salmon Swimming Free – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 7/9

Clayoquot Summer 1993 – Assembling the People’s History of the Protest

Clayoquot Summer People’s History Dossier

Rainforest Dispatches - A Choogle On with Uncle Weed podcast series
Rainforest Dispatches podcast series

With a litany of environmental-related events in Blog Action Day, Tck Tck Tck, 350, Bridge to A Cool Planet – i’ve rustled up an overview of my recent climate change, activist-oriented media project.

Listeners to “Choogle On with Uncle Weed” podcast have noticed the special series called Rainforest Dispatches. Consider subscribing by RSS Feed iTunes, Email (gratis).

Here’s the blurb:

“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.

Collecting Clayoquot:

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.

Showdown, the police and MacMillan Bloedel have arrived. The persons with the pink ribbons were peacekeepers, who were mostly successful in calming down emotions often running very high. By Aldo de Moor
Showdown, the police and MacMillan Bloedel have arrived. The persons with the pink ribbons were peacekeepers, who were mostly successful in calming down emotions often running very high. By Aldo de Moor

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.

See the articles and resources i’ve assembled at: Clayoquot tag on Delicious social bookmarks

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).

A few highlights:

Clayoquot Sound—A Summer of Protest by Luke Moore

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.

More Clayoquot Sound—A Summer of Protest

Blockades and Civil Disobedience (1993 – 1995), Whole Systems Engagement by Ann Svendsen & Myriam Laberge from Collective Wisdom Initiative

Blockade on Kennedy Bridge – Photographer unknown

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.

Clayoquot Sound: Not Out Of The Woods Yet! By Valerie Langer Common Ground

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.

The Summer of ‘93 – The Struggle for Clayoquot Sound by Aldo de Moor of Tilburg, The Netherlands, collection of snapshots from August 1993 on Wikicommons

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.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.The arrested taken to the police station by school bus. By Aldo de Moor

The entrance to the Peace Camp, base of the protesters.The entrance to the “Peace Camp”, base of the protesters. By Aldo de Moor

Wilderness & Resistance – Bears, Blockades & Burning Bridges By an Expatriated Biocentric Turtle Island Earth First!er in “Do or Die” Vol. 6

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.

University of Victoria’s “A Political Space” Clayoquot Project

The New York Times ad which sparked the protestThe New York Times ad which sparked the protest gathered at Univ. of Victoria Clayoquot Project

Clayoquot Info from “Friends of Clayoquot Sound“:


Interactive Map: Logging

Map of Intact Clayoquot Valleys

Vancouver Island Old Growth 1860

Vancouver Island Old Growth 2004

Historical Notes from FOCS

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.

What Is Clayoquot Sound?

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.

Sydney Valley
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.

Friends of the Sound – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 6/9

Friends of the Sound – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 6/9
Friends of the Sound – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 6/9

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. 

Find new friends: Friends of the Sound – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 6/9 – 26:24 

Continue reading Friends of the Sound – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 6/9

Conservation and Clearcuts – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 5/9

Conservation and Clearcuts – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 5/9
Conservation and Clearcuts – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 5/9

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. 

Downcast podload: Conservation and Clearcuts – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 5/9 – 25:24

Continue reading Conservation and Clearcuts – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 5/9

Spieling from Whiskey Dock – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 4/9

Spieling from Whiskey Dock – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 4/9
Spieling from Whiskey Dock – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 4/9

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. 

Downcast podload: Spieling from Whiskey Dock – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 4/9 – 19:28

Continue reading Spieling from Whiskey Dock – Rainforest Dispatches, chapter 4/9