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Blackwater Stewardship group calls ‘One’ a success

Long weekend event gathers more support to prevent logging at Blackwater Creek

The Blackwater Lake Campground came alive over the Labour Day weekend, as concerned citizens united as “one” to bring attention to their cause.

The Blackwater Stewardship group was formed earlier this year by a group of area residents. They believe that harvesting timber from areas of Blackwater Creek — including a 31-hectare parcel where the timber rights were sold to a local logging company in April — will jeopardize lands the N’Quatqua people have traditionally used to gather medicinal herbs and pine mushrooms. They are also concerned that logging could damage an old growth forest and disturb the habitats of animals like the spotted owl.

Michelle Klaui, a member of the stewardship group and one of the primary organizers for the One fundraiser, said the weekend was a success.

“We managed to get at least another 200 signatures for our petition,” Klaui said.

They also had a lot of support not only from the D’Arcy area, but the communities of Pemberton and Whistler.

Klaui said many local businesses offered them discounts on rentals and helped with advertising.

Events kicked off Friday evening with a potluck, with many people who were passing through from the nearby provincial park stopping to see what was going on. Klaui said they had steady attendance over the entire weekend.

“Because it was over the whole long weekend, I think that it was obviously spread out — people just came whenever, which is great, because then it wasn’t crowded or anything like that. There was lots of room for dancing.”

The weekend included performances by Kostaman & the Vibrations, the Tribal Bunch, and DJs Phroh and Kumba.

Vendors also set up shop at the site, selling traditional foods, like deer and salmon roe soups, and a pine mushroom stir-fry.

Klaui said this was an important part of the weekend, because it gave people an idea of what could be lost if logging goes ahead.

“People had a chance to eat animals and food from the land, which was something that we really wanted to focus on.”

Klaui wasn’t sure how much money they raised, but hoped it was enough to cover the $1,000 cost of the event. But she pointed out that many people donated things other than cash, like gasoline or food, to help with the event, and raising money wasn’t their main objective.

“The focus for us was just to continue to gather support and to continue to bring awareness to the general public, and it doesn’t matter who that is — if they’re tourists or if they’re citizens, we just want people to know what’s going on.”

Klaui said the stewardship group plans to continue to use the staging they purchased for the weekend event, and will host open mic nights and jam sessions every Saturday night at the Blackwater Lake Campground.

Klaui also said she expects this year’s pine mushroom harvest to be excellent, because it’s been a rainy season, and she hopes they will be able to keep logging deterred until at least after the harvest season, which should start right after the first frost.