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Peachland residents march for better forest management

The Peachland march was one of many like it across B.C.
A number of Peachland residents came out to a ForestMarchBC rally despite the smoky conditions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

A number of Peachland residents came out to a march despite the smoky weather on Friday afternoon, Sept. 18.

The Peachland march was one of many others like it that took place in many communities across the province, calling for better forest management that will see forests treated with more care.

Communications director for the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance (PWPA) Alex Morrison said the goal was to show solidarity with people in the forestry industry, as well as to call attention to a better forest management framework.

“We’re marching to show the government that our communities want a better way to do forestry… (the new forest framework) is a community-based framework, giving power back to the communities,” she said.

“Peachland is a good example because our watershed is in a land that we have no real control over. Whatever goes on in the watershed, despite the fact our great mayor and council do all they can, they’re very limited in their ability to do anything.”

ForestMarchBC, the organization that organized the marches, is proposing a change to existing provincial forestry legislation so that ecosystem health is prioritized, for communities to be formally involved, and to prohibit corporate involvement in forest management.

Morrison said if communities have a say, this means they’ll be able to protect their forests and run watersheds in ways they see fit and in ways that will be appropriate for their region.

She added the idea is a bit radical because it advocates taking away corporate involvement.

“There’s really no need for corporate use of our public lands when we’re capable of making those decisions on our own as communities.”

The march also came at a time when many communities in B.C. have been dealing with smoke pollution as a result of wildfires burning in Washington and Oregon.

“This smoke that we’re dealing with and have been dealing with, it’s just a symptom of the bigger global picture of what’s going on and why the human impacts on our environment really need to be addressed as soon as possible,” she said.

The march started off at the Peachland Visitor Centre, ending at Heritage Park with speeches and performances.

For more information on ForestMarchBC and the new forestry framework they are proposing, visit their website.

READ: Okanagan Forest Task Force discovers several abandoned campfires in backcountry

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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