North Cowichan’s municipal forest reserve and the battle to save it are being featured in The Last Stand, a documentary by filmmaker Peter von Puttkamer which “examines the urgent race to save the world’s last remaining ancient forests and stop global warming.”
Cowichan’s Icel Dobell was interviewed for the film and her part was filmed in the contentious Stoney Hill area.
“The Last Stand is about the last remaining old growth in B.C. and the world,” Dobell explained. “There is no old growth in North Cowichan but we have the next best thing: approximately 80-year-old, second-growth, naturally regenerated forests functioning as old growth. They are rare and endangered — their uniqueness is that they were logged before the advent of the tree plantations; not everything was taken and what was left of the forests was left to nature to regrow as a complexity of seeds with deciduous trees that are essential for healing and regrowing a forest. They were logged before the use of chemicals that wipe out the ecosystems to grow single species conifers with no competition.”
The fight for North Cowichan’s community forest began in 2018 when the clearcutting was coming over the tops of the mountains.
“That was when people realized our forests would be all logged within a few short years,” Dobell said. “Beginning in October 2018, hundreds of residents in the Cowichan Valley learned about the logging and also the extraordinary fact that we are the only community on the continent that owns the forests around it to protect.”
The film also highlighted Fairy Creek’s “Battle for the Trees” as a means to investigate the importance of keeping intact forest ecosystems around the world.
The Last Stand is available for viewing on the new Ecoflix channel. There is a 30-day free trial after which the cost to subscribe is $3.99 a month, charged annually.