Long time activist Betty Krawczyk visited the anti-logging camp at Blackwater Creek this week to lend her support to the cause.
“I told the stewardship group that whatever I can do to help I will do,” the 79-year-old great-grandmother said Tuesday after visiting the main protest camp which is now permanently staffed and housed in a tepee.
Krawczyk was released from jail in September after serving 10 months for criminal contempt of court after being arrested three times while taking part in last year's protests against highway construction through the Eagleridge Bluffs in West Vancouver. She has spent two years in jail for previous contempt convictions stemming from anti-logging protests.
The protest at Blackwater has been going on since last May and to date no logging has taken place. At issue are 31 hectares of land which locals, both First Nation and others, use to collect medicinal herbs and the highly priced pine mushroom. The area contains the only provincially designated pine mushroom management area (BPMMA).
Krawczyk said she followed the protest from jail and decided to visit the area as soon as possible.
“This group of gutsy women interest me and so do the issues here,” she said, adding that she first met some of the Blackwater protesters when they came to visit at Eagleridge Bluffs.
“I intend to follow this.”
The Blackwater Stewardship Group is arguing that apart from the devastation logging would cause to the ecosystem the pine mushrooms offer a steady income to local residents, whereas logging is a one hit economic benefit to the forestry sector.
“However small the pine mushroom economy might be compared to other things it is still a consistent economy through which people make a small income year after year,” said Mariko Kage of the Stewardship Group.
Having Krawczyk add her voice to the protest against logging in the area is important said Kage, as discussions with provincial officials continue.
“It is significant,” she said.
Previously B.C. Timber Sales, the government arm created to develop Crown timber for auction, the Squamish Forest District, and the N’Quatqua Band have agreed to participate in a joint sustainability study that addresses N’Quatqua interests within the BPMMA.
BCTS has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the N’Quatqua agreeing not to develop any new blocks, other than those already approved, within the band’s area of interest until the results of the sustainability study are reviewed.