Sunday, April 21, 2013


ISLAND BOUND MEDIA is launching a unique media project to address the prospect of Supertankers navigating BC's westcoast. is a website dedicated to revealing the reality of the west coast of Canada focusing on the challenges this incredible environment imposes upon Enbridge’s plans to ship millions of barrels of Alberta’s Tarsands Bitumen to China via the port of Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada.

ABOUT THIS MEDIA PROJECT This hour-long documentary will take a first-hand look at British Columbia’s central coast, its natural features, the weather, the currents, the wildlife, and the people who live there. My personal journey into this remote wilderness will focus on the coastal areas where the Enbridge Corporation is proposing to navigate hundreds of Super-Tankers loaded with millions of barrels of Bitumen from Alberta’s Tarsands for export to China. My goal is to document the challenges facing these Super-Tankers by immersing myself in this natural environment where I will create a film that conveys the reality of this incredible coast.

UNIQUE APPROACH TO MEDIA PRODUCTION This hour-long documentary will be created as a series of 'vinettes' approximately 10 minutes long. Each mini-doc will be produced independently in order to be more effective in educating the public about the coast where Enbridge plans to bring hundreds of supertankers. This media production approach will allow individual ‘vinettes’ to meet important deadlines such as the BC General Election on May 14, 2013. The momentum of each ‘vinette’ will encourage financing for the making of the next: broadening the audience through word of mouth, and providing concrete evidence of the challenges facing Enbridge’s Supertankers along this remote coast. All of these ‘vinettes’ will be edited together into a final hour-long documentary ready to reach audiences before January 2014 when the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel is estimated to reach a verdict. The public needs to support this project for it to work and reach a wide audience. Dividing the film into ‘vinettes’ will allow the project to be competed in step that are manageable, effective, and ultimately contribute toward the larger film. I need help to finance these mini-docs and have set up a website where it is easy to find out more details and donate at:

WHY SUPPORT THIS PROJECT? The Federal Government of Canada is spending millions of taxpayer dollars promoting this and other Tarsands projects. ENBRIDGE is spending $350 million on public relations campaigns to convince the public that that the Northern Gateway Pipeline will be good for Canada. Enbridge is responsible for ruptures in 804 pipelines between 1999 and 2010 creating oil spills that have released approximately 161,475 barrels (6.78 million US gallons or 25.67 million liters) of crude oil into the natural environment, including fresh drinking water sources. The Northern Gateway Pipelines Project proposed by Enbridge is arguably the number one news story in Canada. Thousands of sound bites, news clips, infomercials, tweets, front-page exposes, animations, rhetoric, and editorials have poured out from mainstream media and independents in recent years. Messages are confusing, contradictory, and relentless with their opinions. Reality is constantly distorted and the truth has become a blur! Exporting Tarsands to China is dividing Canadians.

Bottom line, oil and water don’t mix!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


“This movie is not one to miss.”
Kyle Empringham for World Wildlife Fund Canada Blog

Guided by passion and a determination to honor reality, Richard Boyce travels to the most remote corner of Vancouver Island, through some of the most intensive logging on the planet, into a wilderness that is on the brink of extinction. Massive trees, ranging in age between 1,200 years old and seedlings, thrive along the banks of an ancient river floodplain, which provides for diverse life forms in the temperate rainforest. This film is an evocative journey, contrasting forestry as practiced for ten thousand years by First Nation’s people with modern logging.

After a successful premier at the Vancouver International Film Festival this film will screen at the Montreal Documentary Film Festival, Whistler Film Festival, and at Errington Hall November 27, 2011.

For detailed information, upcoming events, and trailer visit: WWW.RAINFORESTMOVIE.CA

“Rainforest is a sumptuously filmed documentary of the ancient forest… I’m guessing you’ll enjoy this film immensely. It mixes gorgeous imagery with stories of the recent past that will horrify and excite you.”
Dave Olsen Reel Life, Real Ideas: Movies and more…

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Richard Boyce filming an aerial garden growing 60 meters high up in the canopy of an ancient Sitka Spruce.

Over the past 5 years I have made a concerted effort to shed some light onto the nature around us with a view that we are here because of the environment that provides humanity with everything we need to live. My belief remains that we must protect the environment around us if we hope to continue to prosper as a species. I have had the opportunity to share my views about a wide variety of subjects with loyal readers and browsers alike.
This is the 125th article of my column ‘Island Lens’ which was first published by the PQNews on February 20, 2004. Today marks the final article for Island Lens, so that I can turn my full attention to the final stages of a film, which I have been producing for the past 3 years entitled; “Such Great Heights.” This feature length documentary film focuses on the unique canopy of the ancient rainforest that grows on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
It has been my lifelong dream to explore airborne gardens, high above the forest floor with their abundance of life that is as diverse as it is lush. During the production of this film I have been able to explore the canopy first-hand and gather stories from people who have spent years researching this incredibly unique environment. First Nations’ Elders have also shared their traditional knowledge with me and my camera.

Aerial gardens are unique ecosystems which have evolved over hundreds of years, as debris is caught in the nooks and crannies of massive trees where it composts over time. Eventually soil deposits develop which provide a rich base for windblown seeds, which flourish in the light. These aerial gardens provide habitat for unique insects, as discovered by a team of Entomologists from the University of Victoria who have recorded more than 125 insects that had never before been identified. Scientists in the early 1990s discovered that the rare and endangered Marbled Murrelet nests exclusively on aerial gardens making it the only known seabird in the world to nest in trees.

With a small crew of climbers, including a professional arborist, I have developed ways to film high up in the canopy, climbing ropes rather than the trees to limit the damage we do to the environment we are documenting. As a team we have created rope systems that allow us to move vertically and horizontally through the canopy of giant Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar, and Douglas fir trees.

The temperate rainforests found in the low valley bottoms on the west coast of Vancouver Island have a biomass greater than anywhere on earth, meaning that the density of living organisms per square meter surpasses even that of the famous Amazon rainforest. Science has determined that rainforests are extremely important to the life cycles and functions of this planet. Trees filter air by taking carbon, nitrogen, phosphates, and other airborne chemicals in the atmosphere and fixing them into the soil where they provide nutrients, in turn producing vast amounts of oxygen. Forests are the lungs of our planet. Trees redistribute water, functioning as huge sponges to retain water and pumping vast quantities of water back into the atmosphere. Rainforests greatly effect weather patterns.

Ironically, in order for me to film in the pristine rainforest I have to drive to the most remote regions of Vancouver Island through seemingly endless clear-cuts, tree farms, and second growth mono-culture forests. Less than 2% of the original old growth forest remains in low valley bottoms on Vancouver Island. 85 of the original 91 watersheds have been completely devastated by logging over the past 150 years when the first steam sawmill was brought from England to Port Alberni. Today I estimate that there are three times as many logging roads, where the general public seldom ventures, as paved roads on Vancouver Island.

I am currently editing my film “Such Great Heights” with the goal of providing everyone with an opportunity to explore the canopy of the rainforest before it is completely destroyed. You can catch a glimpse by viewing a short video posted at my website:

Richard Boyce in the canopy overlooking logging operations on publicly owned land in the Upper East Creek, Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Seaweed drying where many generations have spread out this important harvest.

The boat thrashed through the turbulent waters caused by gusts of wind combined with the rushing of the tides through a narrow channel between rocky islands. The tide reached a low of zero at 7am exposing a rocky coastline covered in a wide variety of seaweed well below the tide line that cuts a straight line along the overhanging forest.

The boat is filled to the brim with academics eager to learn about the past from two of the only people with living memory of how their people harvested seaweed and clams along this coast. The passengers included an Archeologist, an Ethno-Botanist, and a Marine Biologist specializing in seaweed as well as graduate students pursuing degrees in Entho-Botany, Environmental studies, and Linguistics who are documenting the journey for their research.

Known traditionally as Qwaxsistalla, the Clan Chief of Kawadillikala (wolf) Clan of Kingcome Inlet, Adam Dick leads us on a tour of his traditional Lok'key'wey. This Clam Garden was built thousands of years ago by his ancestors and was maintained through the centuries by his people. They constructed dikes made of stone to bridge the openings between large rock outcroppings between islands. Over many years these structures expanded the beaches, which supported clams and other marine life. The development of these fertile gardens, which were tended every spring and winter during the seaweed and clam harvest season, increased the numbers of clams many times over.

I try to imagine what it would have been like for a small child to be piled into a dug out canoe with his grandparents, paddling through the maze of islands with most of their belongings. Heading to a winter camp, where they could gather clams and hide from the authorities, in order to escape the torments of the residential schools. As a result of their efforts the knowledge passed down through countless generations, by a people who understood how to survive and flourish on this unforgiving coast, exists today.

With first contact between Europeans and First Nations peoples came diseases such as Small Pocks, Measles, and Tuberculosis, which wiped out the majority of people living on the coast of what is now British Columbia. Those who survived were forced to live on government controlled reserves and they were no longer allowed to move freely to harvest their traditional foods which were located in different places depending upon the season. Their children where forcibly taken to residential schools where they were forbidden to speak their languages. Cultural traditions such as the Potlatch, where knowledge was passed between the generations, were outlawed and punishable with extreme hardships.

On the return trip we stop at a tiny island to pick-up a team of graduate students, who have been harvesting seaweed according to traditional methods. One of them spread out squares of the thin green stands on a smooth rock face and comments that this is the perfect place for drying the seaweed with its southern exposure. I wonder how many people have used this same spot for the same purpose over the past millennia. When we return to the boat Qwaxsistalla tells us that he was reminded of his grandmother who spread seaweed in the exact same spot and remembers that the large tree towering over the rock was just a sapling when he last gathered seaweed with his grandparents.

Once the seaweed is dried and stored in a bent cedar box, layered between cedar boughs and pressed under a stone, dense bricks of rich black are ready to store or eat. It has a smell akin to caramel and the texture is similar to popcorn, except it melts in your mouth as it returns to its original state of thin smooth seaweed with a salty spice that is very unique. It’s delicious.

It turns out that the skipper of the boat is doing her postgraduate studies by researching SPLICE, a chemical used in fish farms to kill sea lice, which kill small salmon fry. Premier Gordon Campbell recently increased the number of fish farms and their capacity in the Broughton Archipelago although the effects upon wild salmon stocks have been shown to be devastating. Currently the BC government allows the use of this chemical agent, despite the fact that it has been banned by several countries including the USA because of its ill effects on the marine environment surrounding Salmon Farms.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Endangered Wetland Forest ecosystem flourishes
Wetland Forest dominated by Sitka Spruce, Douglas fir, and Western Red Cedar

Last Thursday I watched a group of 12 men in Timber Cruising Vests walk into the woods at the edge of the highway between the Inland Highway and the Coombs Junction, very close to the railway tracks. The next day I hiked into the same forest to see what they were up to and noticed a series of florescent pink flagging tape with the words Timber Cruise. These plastic markers surrounded a particularly large Douglas fir tree but I wasn’t able to find any more anywhere else in that portion of the forest.

Hiking towards the open water of Hamilton Marsh I discovered a lush wetland forest, completely different from the 2nd growth Douglas fir forest on the other side of the marsh, where the public accesses the viewing dock. The area I walked through has an abundance of water pools, many of which are connected by slow moving trickles of water, which seeped through out the uneven ground. Thousands of Skunk Cabbage, with bright yellow blooms surrounded by bright green leaves, thrust out of the rich soil, along with a wide array of wetland plants.

I found man Western Red Cedar, with a ‘Diameter at Breast Height’ (DBH), exceeding 1 meter. I was surprised to find a significant number of Sitka Spruce trees, which are rare and endangered on the east coast of Vancouver Island according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Many of these tall trees also had a DBH greater than 1 meter.

Somewhat to my astonishment, I found many large old growth Douglas fir trees, despite the fact that this species generally likes to keep its roots dry. These ancients flourish on mounds of soil surrounded by pools of water. Through out the forest Hemlock trees of every size grow in abundance along with Creek Dogwood, Ninebark, Salmonberry, and wild Cherry. This wetland forest has many of the characteristics of an old growth forest with multi-layered canopy; multi-aged trees, and multiple species of trees.

As I neared the open waters of Hamilton Marsh the ground became wetter, and the trees became much smaller, and appeared stunted in their growth. They were clustered together in very dense clumps, and the Douglas fir disappeared entirely. A few pine trees appeared, and the Creek Dogwood became so dense that I turned back and headed for the railway following an old logging track, as indicated by the parallel ruts that weave through the forest. I came upon many giant stumps from a time when the trees were hand cut with a straight saw, using planks to elevate the loggers above the flared butt of the trees.

As I walked back along the railway tracks I was reminded of the root cause of the private ownership of this magnificent forest. After all, it was the provincial and federal government who gave Robert Dunsmuir, a coal baron and the richest man in British Columbia at the time, 2 million acres of land in exchange for building a railway on Vancouver Island back in 1884. The land was sold off and as a direct result the southeast coast of Vancouver Island has practically no public land. Today parks make up less than 3% of the landmass on the south east of Vancouver Island, despite claims by the BC government that 12% of the province is park, equally distributed throughout the province.

Brookfield Asset Management now owns the land around Hamilton Marsh. It plans to log and flog this land as real estate through Island Timberlands. However, the railway is dilapidated and does not serve the public, which was the reason for the land gift in the first place. Island Timberlands’ Public Relations Director, McKensie Leine responded to inquiries by stating: “There is a Wildlife Danger Tree Assessor course going on right now. The class was doing the practical portion of the training and using the area to learn to assess danger trees.” Meanwhile negotiations with conservation groups and the Regional District of Nanaimo have reached an impasse and Island Timberlands logging and development plans stand ready to move into action.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Richard Boyce films a special management zone along Klaskish Creek on Vancouver Island, this is the highest standard of logging in BC according to Ministry of Forests.

Last week someone working for Natural Resources Canada contacted me through my website with the following e-mail message: “Hi - I am looking for some dramatic photos of our fabulous old growth forests. Doesn't have to be Vancouver Island, but the big trees are on the west coast. Do you have licensed photos we could purchase for a display for the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers.” After a quick internet search I found their website:

I soon learned that this council includes all of the Forest Ministers and/or Natural Resource Ministers, for every province and territory in Canada along with the Federal Government’s Ministry of Natural Resources. “Governments working in partnership to ensure Canada remains a world leader in Sustainable Forest Management and supports a competitive forest sector.”

Upon closer inspection I realized that this council is the governing body responsible for green-washing the Canadian forestry industry. They lobby foreign governments around the world with presentations, which shows the world that the last of Canada’s old growth forests are for sale. They claim that regulations have changed and the environmental impact of logging has been reduced.

This government council is spending taxpayers’ money to promote a forestry industry, which continues to destroy the ancient forests of Canada at an ever-increasing rate with devastating consequences to both the environment and forestry workers. Logging continues to destroy watersheds while more lives have been lost in forestry in Canada than in the Canadian military overseas in recent years. Raw log exports increase and at the same time far fewer Canadians are being employed in the forestry industry than in past years.

The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers asked me to provide beautiful photographs of an almost extinct rainforest to help sell the last few old growth trees to foreign markets so that mostly international corporations can cut down the last few stands of ancient forest in Canada. I responded with a series of photographs of the ancient rainforest that I have taken over the past few years from all over Vancouver Island, which illustrate the reality of logging devastation.

I also included the following text:

With regards to your request for photographs of big trees, I am very interested in providing you with “some dramatic photos of our fabulous old growth forests.” However, due to the practices of the British Columbia Ministry of Forests there are very few such giant trees left. The biggest, oldest, and healthiest specimens are found only in the lush valley bottoms. Of the original 85 watersheds found on Vancouver Island at least 80 have been clear-cut logged and the majority of those left pristine are having logging roads built into them as I write this letter.

98% of those lush rainforests on Vancouver Island, where the largest, tallest, and oldest trees in Canada once grew, have already been cut down. Much of what little is left is not preserved and will be cut down in the next few decades. Any discrepancy in statistics is due to questionable methods of calculation used by the BC Forest Ministry which includes counting rocky mountain tops, the surface areas of lakes, and areas where trees seldom grow to make up a higher percentage of land mass which has not been logged.

Attached you will find a few examples of my life-long pursuit to photograph the rainforest of Vancouver Island. I have included a proportionate number of pristine images to reflect the current state of this incredible forest. That photo is of a Culturally Modified Tree, which was used more than 150 years ago to extract natural pitch for building, ceremony, and medicinal purposes. Notice that the tree is still very much alive and healthy today although it was used as a ‘Natural Resource’ by several generations of First Nations People.

I followed this with a request to everyone on my e-mail list, to send their own message and photos of logging to the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. I encourage you to do the same. Their detailed contact information is readily available on their website:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


“A young bear cub shot with my camera on Vancouver Island”

Walking at Top Bridge Regional Park I heard many gun shots from the adjacent rifle range. By the thundering retorts I could tell that these were big guns. Then I remembered that the BC Liberals introduced a spring hunt for Black Bear and Cougar, when they first came to power in 2001.

At the time there was considerable public outrage, but most people have forgotten all about it today, yet the hunt continues and today many Black Bears and Cougars are being shot to death. On Vancouver Island there is an open hunting season on Black Bear from April 1 to June 15. This follows the fall hunt that was open September 6 through December 10, 2008.

Fish and Wildlife BC used to restrict hunting of bears to the fall only because in the spring the sows are with very young cubs. Shooting the mothers tends to seal the fate of the little ones to death through starvation or predation. Black Bear cubs live with their mother for at least a year, learning everything there is to know about being a bear. During the winter, bears on Vancouver Island are in semi-hibernation and the sows give birth to their cubs. In early spring bears begin to move around, foraging for fresh grass sprouts and various young plant shoots.

Today a BC residents can buy a hunting license for $20 to hunt down and kill Black Bears. A gall bladder fetches $500 and the paws about $100 each on the illegal parts market. In 2001 the official wildlife count by the BC Ministry of Environment recorded 12,000 Black Bear living on Vancouver Island. By 2008 more than 1/3 of the population had been killed, with current estimates at between 7,000 - 8,000 Black Bears.

Hunters can also shoot Cougars anytime between September 2 and June 15. The typical method humans use to hunt Cougar is with a team of dogs, often with a radio collar, who chase the mountain lion until it climbs a tree. The hunters then locate their dogs and shoot the cougar out of the tree. In 1995 an estimated 750 Cougars lived on Vancouver Island but their population has been decimated to half that number with approximately 300-400 recorded by Fish & Wildlife BC in 2008.

In the early 1960s, sports fishermen and hunters lobbied the BC government to open all forestlands to the public for recreational purposes. Agreements were made between the private and public sectors, which have benefited millions of people by allowing countless trips for camping, fishing, hunting, birding, mountain biking, canoeing, hiking, swimming, and other recreational activities. In recent years both logging corporations and the BC government have imposed restrictions that reduce public access to forestlands.

In a conversation I had with Ronda Murdock, co-owner/operator of Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours, she explained: “We have been leading tours at Hamilton Marsh for the past two years, as part of the annual Brant Festival, but this year we were told by Island Timberlands that we are not welcome on their land.” Murdock went on to explain that on Tuesday April 7 she received a phone call from Makenzie Leine, spokeswoman for Island Timberlands, who told her that she would not be allowed to give the annual Brant Festival tour at Hamilton Marsh.

Leine also objected to Gary Murdock, who worked as a BC Forest Service Officer for 35 years, based on the fact that he appeared in a short video about Bear Den Island. According to Leine this video proved that Murdock trespassed on the tiny island in the middle of Englishman River where he explained the age of a tree that had been cut down by fallers working for Island Timberlands.

According to the current laws and regulations established by the BC government and Island Timberlands, a hunter with a gun, can hike to Bear Den Island, locate the den, track the animal, and shoot a Black Bear. All this based on the very public knowledge that a bear has a den on this tiny island in the middle of Englishman River as reported in the PQNews along with a photo. However, an eco-tour operator is banned from entering any property owned by Island Timberlands because he has told the public about logging in the middle of a river.