Man and woman looking at a map. They are in a forest

Cortes Island Ancient Forest #1: The Basil Creek Watershed

Cortes Island activist and biologist, Sabina Leader-Mense, takes Wilderness Committee Vancouver Island campaigner, Torrance Coste, on a tour of the Basil Creek Watershed—a spectacular grove of unlogged, ancient forest, and the very first area on Island Timberland’s cut-block.

Meeting the people of Cortes—learning about their mammoth struggle with far-away investment firms that want to cash in on their forestlands—influenced the course of my life for years to come.

I returned to Cortes in late November after an IT representative left a cryptic message on the Cortes Island website that said they would “begin forest harvesting and related activities the week of November 26.”One thing I didn’t fully grasp in my previous excursions was the full extent of Island Timberlands’ land holdings on Cortes, because there were no identifying markers. But this time, as I drove along the main east-west road that connects the villages of Manson’s Landing and Whaletown, I could see that both sides were lined with Island Timberlands’ Private Property signs.

Top photo credit: Sabina Leader-Mense and Torrance Coste in Basil Creek Watershed