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Altered images show what Stanley Park and Capilano Park would look like after logging

Local forests reimagined as clearcuts

A trio of conservationists are helping to raise awareness around the issue of old growth logging in B.C. by way of a visual campaign on social media.

Steve Thorp, Owen Perry and John Kelsey are like-minded creatives that came together to produce and distribute a series of images entitled “Imagine This”.

Thorp and Perry are the idea guys; Kelsey, a professional photographer, put together the visuals using stock photos combined with a little bit of Photoshop wizardry. Combined, they have 60,000 followers on Instagram, which they posted the campaign to.

“Imagine This” is, so far, a collection of two sets of before and after images. One pictures the Capilano Suspension Bridge as it appears today, along with a Photoshopped version of the same photo showing what it would look like if they were to log the area around it. Another juxtaposes Stanley Park looking pristine with what it might look like after a clearcut.

By choosing locations that are well known to urbanites, the group hopes to “bring the issue closer to home for people that might turn a blind eye because it's not in their own backyard.”

That issue is, very specifically, the potential of old growth being logged in a valley on southwest Vancouver Island right now, at a place called Fairy Creek.

Since last August, protestors have been holding a blockade that has so far prevented access to the Fairy Creek watershed northeast of Port Renfrew, where Teal Cedar Products has built roads and plans to harvest in one of its tenures.

In a statement, the company claims that its plans have been "mischaracterized" by opponents, which are reported to be made up of people from all walks of life including doctors, lawyers, and tree planters.

Teal Vice-president Gerrie Kotze says "We are planning to harvest only a small area, up at the head of the watershed well away from Fairy Lake and the San Juan River," he said.

"We will harvest with the care and attention to the environment British Columbians expect, and mill every log we cut right here in B.C."

An injunction against the protestors was granted by the B.C. Supreme Court in early April and has yet to be enforced, while support for the protestors continues to grow.

Thorp tells Vancouver Is Awesome that the NDP government could solve the issue easily if they were to “protect all remaining old growth forests in B.C., immediately.” He notes that there have been multiple independent reviews of the forest management system, and that “they need to listen to the data and science and make decisions now, before it's too late.”

In the meantime, he and his co-campaigners plan to continue to bring attention to this issue with dramatic imagery that draws people in.

“Fairy Creek logging is sometimes hard for people to visualize until it's imagined happening in the park they walk on weekends.”

With files from Elana Shepert and The Canadian Press