Big Trees Saved – info & to order

The story of the Shuswap Environmental Action Society
Deanna Kawatski
Foreword by Joe Foy

Published by Shuswap Press

ISBN 978-0-9917873-7-1

123 pages, $20 plus $5 for shipping


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#3 – 151 Beatty Ave. NW
Salmon Arm, B.C.
V1E 2W4

Foreword by
Joe Foy, National Campaign Director, Wilderness Committee
This book confirms my suspicions about human kind. Not everything that people do is about self-interest. Sometimes people really do devote themselves to the benefit of future generations.
The story of the Shuswap Environmental Action Society is an inspiring saga of regular people making a huge difference—such a huge difference in fact that you can not only read their story in this book, you can see it from outer space! I encourage you to go to Google Earth and have a look at the precious ancient forests that SEAS was able to gain protection for—and to contemplate the ocean of clear cuts that surround them. Think what would have happened if these few brave people had not stood up, spoken out, and held their ground.
I must confess that I especially enjoyed this book because I have worked for the Vancouver-based Wilderness Committee for many years. I know how hard it is to save old-growth trees in a province that has measured its success on how many million two-by-fours it can spew out in a year. It’s fascinating to read of the face-to-face confrontations between Shuswap area environmental activists and logging companies during the 1980s and ’90s, the so-called war in the woods period of BC history.
Contemplating a 1,000-year-old red cedar in a protected park may seem like a peaceful, restful experience these days. But I know that to get that tree protected it took years of tough work, a good number of sleepless nights, and likely some moments of sheer terror for the people that stood up to defend it. This was all done not for the profit in it; it was done because it was the right thing to do.
This book is an important record of what happened during those critical decades when so much of BC’s ancient landscapes were won for future generations—and so much lost to the bulldozer and chainsaw.
Back in the 1970s I had been inspired to become a wilderness activist by reading stories of the fight to protect the forests of the North Cascades that had occurred in Washington State in the ’60s.
Today we are blessed with an impressive number of inspiring books written about the fight to protect BC’s amazing wild forests. Big Trees Saved and Other Feats: The story of the Shuswap Environmental Action Society takes its place among these precious records. And though this book is about what has happened in the past—its real power is in its ability to influence what will happen in the future.
Standing up for nature is hard work. There will be setbacks and losses. There will never be enough information, people, or resources. Some battles will go on for many years. There will be no pay-off, except the comfort of the good fight well fought and the amazing solace of a piece of the wild earth saved.
Much has been accomplished in protecting BC’s natural environment. But so much more remains to be done. In this quest, future generations will need their heroes. This book is for them.


Jim Cooperman offered the following insight: “Our efforts to secure a moratorium on logging the ancient Seymour rainforest were going nowhere in Salmon Arm, so I scheduled a meeting with Fred Baxter, the forest service regional manager in Kamloops. I knew Fred well from other meetings and my frequent visits to the Kamloops Forest Region offices to meet with staff, especially the ecologist who helped develop the plan for new park proposals. We began the meeting by presenting Fred with a framed 8” X 10” print of the famous photo of the Seymour Giant encircled by supporters. Fred understood the ecological value of the forest, but he was also keenly aware of the investment the company had made to survey the blocks and build roads and landings. Consequently we agreed with the compromise he proposed, to allow for the two blocks to the south to be logged and the heart of the park where the Seymour Giant still stands, to be saved. That was one great day and we will always be grateful to Fred for his good judgment.”