Simon Frankson emerged from his sleeping bag at 4 a.m., just in time to join the fray.
The day before, a balmy afternoon in early August, he and about a dozen campers had studied a satellite photo of the area: a mountainside sheathed in deep green cedars and Douglas fir trees, many of them hundreds or thousands of years old, in a watershed known as Fairy Creek in the southwest corner of Vancouver Island. The telling grey stripe of a logging road was creeping up from the left side of the image. It was the same kind of road that has, over the past century, made way for logging companies to cut down 80 per cent of the ancient forest on an island larger than Belgium.
When Frankson and the campers had arrived the night before, things already looked different than in the photo. The stripe had grown into a web of roads advancing up and across the slope. One more day and the machines could crest the ridge above them, opening up yet another valley to industrial logging.
Now Frankson was rubbing the sleep from his eyes and readying himself for his first shift as an old-growth forest blockader. Out of the blackness, the harsh headlights of a four-by-four came swerving around a switchback toward the camp. Frankson jumped up to join the line of bodies rushing to stand their ground…