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BANNER AT FALLS PROTESTS DESTRUCTION OF OLD FORESTS

Niagara Falls became a billboard of political expression this morning after members of Greenpeace hung a banner near the falls protesting the destruction of ancient forests in North America.

"Save Ancient Forests," read the 60-foot-by-30-foot banner dramatically displayed by two Greenpeace members dangling from the Prospect Point Observation Tower. The banner, bearing the Canadian and U.S. flags, was unfurled facing the Rainbow Bridge shortly before 9 a.m.

"More than 80 percent of the earth's ancient forests have been destroyed," said Scott Paul, Greenpeace forest issues specialist. "We're here at Niagara Falls, on the border of the U.S. and Canada, because both countries are contributing to the destruction of 1,000-year-old trees."

"We've come here to the border, because we're drawing attention to North American forests as a whole and the role consumers play in buying those products," said George Marshall, Greenpeace's forest specialist.

Greenpeace is calling on the United States and Canada to save North American forests, including Canada's Great Bear Rain Forest in coastal British Columbia, North America's largest unprotected rain forest.

The United States is one of the largest consumers of wood products from the Great Bear, purchasing nearly two-thirds of the wood.

Greenpeace is calling for:

An immediate end to industrial logging and road building in remaining ancient forests.

An immediate end to all clear cutting.

Elimination of products that destroy or degrade ancient forests.

"When people purchase wood products, they should demand to know if it came from an ancient forest, and if it did, refuse to buy it," Paul said.

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