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The Clayoquot protests, also called the War in the Woods, were a series of blockades related to clearcutting in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia. They culminated in mid-1993, when 856 people were arrested. The blockades in the summer of 1993 against logging of the temperate rainforest were the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history until the 2021 Fairy Creek blockades.[1][2]

Map of Vancouver Island with inset of Clayoquot Sound region

The timber resources of Clayoquot Sound attracted growing numbers of foreigners, limiting access of indigenous peoples to land and creating increasing displeasure among the local population. In the 1980s and the 1990s, government support of private company resource extraction allowed for the growth of the industry over time and resulted in the presence of logging companies in Clayoquot Sound [3] The differing opinions between those groups led the First Nations to develop lobbying organizations and a series of negotiations over logging practices. In the late 1980s, the situation escalated when the Canadian forestry company MacMillan Bloedel secured a permit to log Meares Island.[4]

From 1980 to 1994, several peaceful protests and blockades of logging roads occurred, with the largest in the mid-1993, when over 800 protesters were arrested and many put on trial.[4] Protesters included local residents of the Sound, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Ahousaht First Nation, and environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of Clayoquot Sound.[5]

The logging protests and blockades received worldwide mass media attention, creating national support for the environmental movement in British Columbia and fostering strong advocacy for anti-logging campaigns. Media focused on the mass arrests of people engaging in peaceful protests and blockades, aggression, and intimidation from law enforcement, which served to strengthen public support for nonviolent protests.[6]