Talk and Log
482 pages, 6 1/2 x 9
14 b&w illustrations
Release Date:01 Sep 1998
Release Date:27 Jul 1998
Release Date:01 Nov 2007

Talk and Log

Wilderness Politics in British Columbia

UBC Press

For more than three decades, British Columbia's old growth forests have been a major source of political conflict. In Talk and Log, Jeremy Wilson presents a comprehensive account of the rise of the wilderness movement, examines the forest industry's political strategies, and analyzes the inner workings of the policy process.

Wilson describes a number of major political battles, such as those resulting in preservation of South Moresby, the Carmanah, and the Valhalla wilderness, and investigates the factors that pushed the government towards a more comprehensive approach to expanding the protected areas system. He considers a wide range of forest policy developments and assesses the effectiveness of government and industry attempts to contain the wilderness movement. In the final part, he explores the Harcourt NDP government's reform initiatives, including the Commission on Resources and Environment (CORE), the Protected Areas Strategy, and the Forest Practices Code.

Talk and Log illuminates the forces behind controveries that have divided British Columbians, preoccupied the provincial government, and drawn the attention of people across Canada and the world. By discussing the patterns and trends underlying the past three decades of wilderness politics, Wilson identifies the currents likely to dominate B.C. wilderness debates in decades to come.


  • 1998, Short-listed - Donner Prize, Donner Foundation
A comprehensive and readable history of the rise of the wilderness movement in BC, the counterattacks by industry and response by government. Anyone who has been involved over the last three decades in any forestry issues from the Stein to Clayoquot will find this book of value as it throws some light on the back room deals and minds of the policy makers and politicians ... The text should be required reading for all senior politicians to catch up on the rhetoric their predecessors were spouting 20 and 30 years ago ... This is a great read and will catch you up on the last 30 years if you weren’t there for all of it. The Log
Wilson's book is epic in covering the events, strategies, and personalities that formed the basis of wilderness politics ... This historical account allows us all to see where we fought in the battle, what armour we put on, and how we acted out our parts ... This is a compelling read for anyone who was there. For anyone who missed it but wants to enter the debate, it is the definitive history. Briony Penn, BC Studies
[Wilson] has written an impressive study of the development of forest policy in British Columbia ... While the book will be of most immediate interest to students of Canadian politics, its rich analysis of the interplay of industry, environmentalists, and government makes a significant contribution to the environmental policy literature. Choice
Jeremy Wilson teaches in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria, and has written extensively on forest and environmental politics.

Tables and Maps




1. Perspectives on the Policy Process: Puzzling, ‘Powering,’ and the Constraining Importance of the Policy Legacy

2. The BC Forest Industry

3. The BC Wilderness Movement

4. Government Institutions and the Policy System

5. ‘You Have to Break a Few Eggs’: Environmentalism Challenges the Resource Development Juggernaut of the 1960s

6. The Ragamuffins and the Crown Jewels: Bob Williams Confronts the Forest Policy Orthodoxy

7. The Delegitimation of Social Credit Forest Policy, 1976-91

8. Containing the Wilderness Movement, 1976-85

9. ‘Have a Good Day, and Try Not To Damage the Grass’: Wars in the Woods, 1986-91

10. The Shifting Discourse of Wilderness Politics, 1986-91

11. The Rise of the Cappuccino Suckers

12. Sausage Making in the 1990s: Forest Practices and Allowable Cuts under the NDP Conclusion




Glossary of Acronyms

Select Bibliography


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