Fairy Creek is a special spot but it's not the "last intact watershed" in B.C.

Here's the list of 10 intact watersheds close to Fairy Creek.

For over a year, a pressure campaign has been underway in the woods west of Victoria. Logging roads that exist to allow forest companies to carry out permitted harvesting work have been blockaded by interest groups. Their argument is that this is the only means available to prevent logging in what they say is southern Vancouver Island's last intact old-growth forest, the Fairy Creek watershed. Much has been made of this claim, for example in the British Columbia Legislature on March 25, 2021. That's when Sonia Furstenau, BC Green Party leader, stated:

"Today the B.C. Supreme Court is hearing forest company Teal-Jones's application for an injunction against the protesters at Fairy Creek. If the injunction is granted, we could see people arrested for attempting to stop preparations for logging in the last intact ancient forest valley on southern Vancouver Island."

The Tyee, for example, is happy to call Fairy Creek "the last intact valley on southern Vancouver Island" despite the facts:


Yet the statement could not be further from the truth. Fairy Creek is not in any way the "last intact ancient forest valley on southern Vancouver Island". In fact, we identified 10 intact watersheds south of Clayoquot Sound on southern Vancouver Island, in addition to Fairy Creek (which, incidentally, is not itself intact). The first one on the list is located only 10 kilometres from Fairy Creek.


Based on examination of mapping records, here's the actual list of intact old-growth watersheds south of Clayoquot Sound:

  1. Cullite Creek – 1,618 hectares. Watershed was part of a tree forest license (TFL46) prior to Carmanah Walbran Park being established and added to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
  2. Logan Creek – 1,505 hectares. This watershed borders a tree forest license at the head of the watershed. It was part of the TFL prior to Carmanah Walbran Park being established and the area being added to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
  3. Adrenaline Creek – 609 hectares. Another watershed removed from a TFL and added to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
  4. Information unavailable
  5. Kulaht Creek – 1,503 hectares.
  6. August Creek – 1,098 hectares – a tributary to Carmanah Creek.
  7. Carmanah Creek – 5,626 hectares. About 4% of this watershed was harvested before being made a park
  8. Tsuquadra (pictured below - photo by Anthony Maw/Flickr) – 1,009 hectares. A portion of this area was once part of a tree forest license prior to the addition of the “Nitinat Triangle” to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
  9. Tsusiat – 3,312 hectares. As with the Tsuquadra watershed, this area was added to the Nitinat Triangle.
  10. Information unavailable.

The term "intact" here might be controversial for some. It's worth noting that even the Fairy Creek watershed, which Furstenau is on the record calling intact, has been subject to extensive harvesting in its lower reaches. Some would even argue that "two-thirds" intact is hardly the same as "the last intact watershed". The list of 10 intact, protected watersheds here generally applies a higher standard of the term. In some cases, one might argue for use of the term "mostly intact". Certainly, in the top 10 list there is no watershed that is less intact than Fairy Creek.


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