Pickaxe documents efforts to halt logging at Warner Creek, a federally protected forest in Oregon. Following a suspicious fire in 1991 that cleared the land, Congress suspended environmental regulations to allow logging in the area. Since arson was determined to be the cause of the fire, however, environmental activists argued that allowing logging at Warner Creek would set a bad example and possibly lead to similarly motivated forest fires. What followed was an 11-month battle complete with a 79-day hunger strike and an amazing blockade of a remote mountain logging road. This inspiring documentary shows the power of direct action, determination and good leadership.
In this film, an eclectic mix of activists take a stand to protect an old growth forest from logging at Warner Creek in the Willamette National Forest of Oregon, blockading the logging road and repelling the State Police. Over months a community builds around the illegal blockade as it develops into the Cascadia Free State and similar actions spread across the region. Years after its release, Pickaxe has become a classic document of the potential for grassroots direct action to achieve victory against the forces of both government and big business. Lovingly crafted by the participants themselves, the film expertly presents every moment, from confrontation to celebration.
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