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Dispatches from the frontlines of Fairy Creek Rainforest defence


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12:20, May 24, 2021

Updates from the Rainforest Flying Squad:

Fairy Creek, Pacheedaht territory: 

• 17 RCMP vehicles have arrived at Fairy Creek, including a large paddy wagon. There is an exclusion zone being set up at Fairy Creek.

• We understand that RCMP have been using the letter issued by the Pacheedaht last month to tell people that the Pacheedaht do not want them on their territory. The origins of that letter may be in question. Please note the following paragraphs from the revenue-sharing agreement the Pacheedaht have with government:


11.1 Non-interference. Pacheedaht First Nation agrees it will not support or participate in any acts that frustrate, delay, stop or otherwise physically impede or interfere with provincially authorized forest activities. 

11.2 Cooperation and Support. Pacheedaht First Nation will promptly and fully cooperate with and provide its support to British Columbia in seeking to resolve any action that might be taken by a member of First Nation that is inconsistent with this Agreement.

• Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones was stopped by police today as his car approached Fairy Creek. He told officers that “The pretender chief, Frank Jones, and the elected chief are not the final authority here. They're acting out of their own pretensions. They are not being guided by our... cultural laws,” he told police. “You are invading the territory of our hereditary chief. Frank Jones is not from here, he’s from Terrace,” so he would not be high up on the list of those eligible for the position of hereditary chief.

A witness said RCMP told Elder Bill that he would be arrested if he didn't get off the road. A supporter took him home. Fairy Creek has been a place of refuge and spirituality for Elder Bill his whole life. 

• Earlier there was a large group of angry pro-industry people at Braden and 2000 Road at the back of Fairy Creek. They have now left.

Caycuse, Ditidaht territory:

There is still a tree-sitter at Caycuse. He is fasting until all old-growth trees are protected. Trees are being cut down around him, some so close that debris is falling on him as they go down. There are a few RCMP and a helicopter.

Elsewhere: Statement on cut brake line

We have heard police are investigating a cut brake line on a logging truck. Kathleen Code, a spokesperson for Rainforest Flying Squad, said, “We assure the public that our group of nonviolent forest defenders would never contemplate such an action. We stand on the time-honoured principle of non-violent civil disobedience to express our grief and anger at the loss of these majestic trees and the rich ecosystems they provide. What we have already lost is unimaginable. But we would never intentionally harm a forestry worker or a police officer, even if we don't agree with what they're doing. 

“If there is someone out there that believes cutting an innocent person's brake line would somehow help, I urge them to take responsibility and to desist. Please do not ‘help’ us in that way. Violence and endangering others is not what we're about. Some of our forest defenders are risking their own lives and freedom for this cause.

“We are a movement that is peaceful, honourable and immovable. Nonviolent supporters are welcome and encouraged to join us in either urging the government for an immediate moratorium on old-growth logging, or standing with us to protect these ancient forests. Please come.”

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May 24, 11 am, BC Legislature

Parents Support Land Defenders

Parents4Climate created a forest on the lawn of the Legislature on Monday to show solidarity for Indigenous sovereignty and Old Growth Forest defenders at the Fairy Creek Blockades.    

“Having spent time at the Fairy Creek Headquarters camp in the past few weeks, we can attest to the deep commitment of the land defenders who have spent so many days keeping watch and putting their bodies and spirits on the line for our ancient forests,” says Kate Lawes, Parents4Climate (P4C) member.

“Since we’re currently unable to go there ourselves, we want to support, in any way we can, the land defenders and the old growth forests they have protected for more than 280 days.” 

The symbolic “planting” of cardboard trees will be from 11am-1pm and follow all public health and safe distancing protocols.  

We would like to acknowledge that this event will take place on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen speaking peoples.


Parents 4 Climate is a local group of committed, loving parents on Lekwungen territory, united around the basic sense of duty every parent feels to ensure that our children have a healthy planet to grow and live on.

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Afternoon, May 24, 2021

Rainforest Flying Squad updates:

• There have been four or five arrests at Waterfall Camp today. RCMP have reportedly left the area now.

• There is or was a police line blocking people at Reid and Braden. There was not much media there. We are not sure if RCMP have also left this site.

• Forest defenders set up a blockade at 2000 Road this morning. The area was an active work site for logging old growth up until the morning of May 17th, when the first blockade there was set up. Work was stopped for four days until arrests on May 21.

About 30 RCMP vehicles attended Road 2000 this morning. There are no reports of exclusion zones.

Is this level of police presence and illegal exclusion zones really necessary to dismantle the camps of peaceful civil disobedience activists?

• A supporter sent the following message:

“I spoke to RCMP spokesperson Corporal Chris Manseau this morning and got a better understanding of who is in charge of the operation. It’s not Lake Cowichan RCMP at all. The RCMP used for enforcement come from all over the province. The person in command comes from RCMP Headquarters in Surrey. His name is Dave Attfield…He was the Gold Commander who oversaw the raid  at the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory.  Remember that?”

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Afternoon, May 24, 2021

Trees for Tomorrow demonstration at Legislature

Trees for Tomorrow, a newly founded initiative led by youth, organized a demonstration, standing in solidarity with Indigenous land defenders after a call out for organized action from frontline activists. We as organizers, youth, and allies demand action towards the protection of old-growth forests for current and future generations,” said Mischa Arbess.



Trees for Tomorrow demonstration at Legislature (photograph by Dawna Mueller)

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9:34 pm, May 24, 2021

Email to media from Corporal Chris Manseau, BC RCMP

Tomorrow, Tuesday May 25, 2021, enforcement of the BC Supreme Court injunction order is again planning on continuing.  As operations are still being developed, the exact location of the enforcement has yet to be determined.

I ask that you again please meet our Media Relations Officers in the Port Renfrew area, this time at 9:30a.m. They will be waiting in the same gravel pull out/ parking area approximately 2kms past Port Renfrew on Pacific Marine Rd (across from the entrance to the Port Renfrew Marina & RV Park). You will be asked to sign in with identification and contact information. 

At approximately that time (or before) the RCMP Relations Officers will be informed where enforcement will be scheduled to take place and you will be invited to travel to the enforcement area led by our Media Relations Officers. They will then escort you into a designated area for media.

Every reasonable effort will be made to allow you to get as close as possible to the enforcement area, while ensuring no interference with police operations. Plenty of time will be provided to you in the area to ensure that you have opportunity to document and report on actions as they occur.

Due to timing and logistics, these plans may vary. We cannot guarantee you access if you are not there on time tomorrow, but we will ensure we provide ample notice if meeting times change.

I will not be able to provide further information on the anticipated plans for tomorrow or subsequent days ahead.

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Morning, May 25, 2021

FOCUS reports

FOCUS photojournalist Dawna Mueller, acting on the below instructions from the RCMP, proceeded to the Port Renfrew area on Tuesday, May 25th morning.

But the RCMP failed to appear. She managed to get a message to the editor of FOCUS. On inquiry to Corporal Manseau, FOCUS received the following reply by email: “Enforcement was planned for the Port Renfrew area but circumstances have changed and members are again in the Caycuse area, where enforcement started last week.” In a subsequent email, he elucidated: “Those plans literally changed based on the actions of protesters in the Caycuse area that were unexpected. Our plans had been to continue enforcement in the Port Renfrew area up until that moment. I apologize  for the inconvenience.”

It is a long, bumpy ride along logging roads from Port Renfrew to Caycuse. One would normally go from Victoria through Lake Cowichan to get to the latter. So it is unclear whether media will be able to get to Caycuse today.

According to the Rainforest Flying Squad at 10:36 am, “People are being arrested right now at a ‘temporary exclusion zone’ at Caycuse.”

—Leslie Campbell, editor

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2:05 pm, May 25, 2021

Rainforest Flying Squad reports

• We are asking media to attend the Caycuse exclusion zone checkpoint, where RCMP had corralled about 3 dozen people. About one-third have been arrested and removed, but it seems they're taking hours in between.

Some media have been penned off to one side, with everyone else in another area. No one is allowed to go anywhere and vehicles are being towed off-site without warning.

• A convoy of 30 elders is approaching an active blockade at the bottom of Braden Maine on Gordon River Road. 

The elders have been invited by Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones. This area is home to some of the last stands of old-growth forest on southern Vancouver Island. Some of the seniors are willing to risk arrest to show their support for the protesters who are blocking the logging of the last old growth forest at several blockade sites.

Why get arrested? Their reasons are varied. 76-year-old Jackie Larkin feels betrayed. “This government has lied to us about their willingness to protect old growth. It’s my responsibility to stand with the ancient trees and against the forestry companies and chainsaws that destroy precious ecosystems.” 

Joanne Manley, now 88, was arrested 28 years ago in Clayoquot. She’s saddened nothing seems to have changed: “Writing letters and phoning the government hasn’t helped so far, so here I am, standing with the few trees that remain, hoping the government will finally come to its senses.”

The circle of elders will drive in convoy to the Fairy Creek area, assembling at the Park-and-Ride in Sooke, knowing that they face possible arrest, fines and jail time.

Susan Gage, one of the group organizers, reflects that it’s not fair that younger people, indigenous and non-indigenous, have to be the ones fighting for environmental sustainability. “We want to show that we, as elders, stand with these brave young people, who are trying to reveal the insanity of mowing down these ancient trees and the unique temperate rainforest ecosystem sustained by these mother trees.”

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4:49 & 6:10 pm, May 25, 2021

Report from Rainforest Flying Squad, Caycuse, Ditidaht Territories

RCMP showed people where they could peacefully protest, and everyone was in that area. Then police went in and started arresting leaders, legal observers and our police liaisons. Three to six people at a time were escorted out.

About two dozen people were removed and arrested, and we were told about 15 more were being held there and told they would be arrested imminently.

One witness said she didn't recognize any of the RCMP from any of the previous situations.

Many protestors' vehicles were towed away, some to Tiger Towing, some were left about 3 kms away. RCMP have told people they can go and get them, although Teal Jones may charge them for the tow.

We also heard some protestors' tires were punctured.

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10:30 am, May 26, 2021

FOCUS updates

Last night at 10:19 pm, Corporal Manseau wrote to say that “In order to avoid a repeat of what occurred today when an operational need to change locations occurred, I am asking that all interested media parties remain flexible, and I will commit to putting out an email update tomorrow by 8:30a.m.” At 9:26 am, he emailed that planned enforcement “will take place in the Port Renfrew area.” Media were requested to meet at 10:30 am in a parking area approximately 2kms past Port Renfrew on Pacific Marine Road to rendezvous with the media liaison officers for escort. The distances, given the late notice, will make it difficult for many media to get there in time.

Rainforest Flying Squad reported at 9:32 am that “14 police vehicles and 2 vans have left the station at Cowichan Lake.” They had also had a report that “50 or more, many unmarked police vehicles, are leaving Cowichan. They don’t seem to be going to Caycuse.”

It’s not totally clear how many were arrested yesterday, but it could be close to three dozen, making it the busiest day so far. Arrests were made mostly in the Caycuse area. (Media had been directed to the Port Renfrew area.)

Shown below are a couple of photos of the Elders convoy who visited 2 blockades in the Fairy Creek area yesterday. Many were willing to risk arrest, but the RCMP let them into the exclusion zone without charge. From 75-100 elders attended. See entry below from yesterday afternoon for more details on the convoy.



Elders attend Fairy Creek blockades, May 25 (Photo by Marnie Recker)



Elders attend Fairy Creek blockades, May 25 (Photo by Marnie Recker)

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12:22, May 26, 2021

The Rainforest Flying Squad reports

• from Caycuse, Ditidaht territory: We have heard that "Keys" was taken from the tree-sit, and that RCMP plan to extract all the remaining tree-sitters today.

• While at Fairy Creek, Pacheedaht Territory: 30 RCMP vehicles are at 2000 Road now.

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May 26, 2021, continued

A coalition of media outlets and press freedom groups filed an application in BC Supreme Court today, asking a judge to order the RCMP to provide journalists with reasonable access to police enforcement actions taking place in and around Fairy Creek and Caycuse camps. 

The broad use of exclusion zones is questioned as it interfere’s with the media’s ability to inform the public about what is happening. RCMP have been forcing media to stay far away from arrests being made.

FOCUS will report more on this in the coming days.

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Guest Tree Hugger

I really appreciate this running account of what's happening in Fairy Creek and Caycuse.

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Conservation North supporters in Prince George have rallied in support of the Fairy Creek blockades. Conservation North is also battling the ministry of forests and forest companies over the relentless loss of old-growth forest in the Inland Temperate Rainforest. If blockades are going to spread, this will likely be one of the places that happens.

Here's photos from their recent rally:




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Today the Rainforest Flying Squad reported that there are still two tree-sitters at Caycuse. Two were extracted today using helicopters. (“We really wonder how much the government is spending on helicopters alone, as we've been seeing a lot of them…”)

The RFS also reports that 5 people were arrested at 2000 Road today.

55 people attended a weekly vigil for old-growth forests in downtown Victoria today.

Their Fairy Creek Blockade Instagram account was reinstated.

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