These Douglas fir logs were recently found poached on Stoney Hill in North Cowichan’s forest reserve. (Larry Pynn/sixmountains.ca)

These Douglas fir logs were recently found poached on Stoney Hill in North Cowichan’s forest reserve. (Larry Pynn/sixmountains.ca)

Robert Barron Column: Poachers in forest reserve should be treated harshly

‘Poachers need to be rounded up and prosecuted as soon as possible’

Criminals who are treating North Cowichan’s 5,000-hectare municipal forest reserve like their own personal piggy bank need to be rounded up and prosecuted as soon as possible.

The municipality and the local RCMP had recently been alerted to the fact that people have been in parts of the reserve illegally cutting down large and marketable red cedar and Douglas fir trees.

Although against the law, I suspect that it may be common practice for some people to take blown-down trees and other wood waste from the MFR for firewood and that’s to be expected, but what is happening now in the reserve is on a far greater scale and is an insult to all those in the community who have been trying so hard in recent years for North Cowichan to develop a more environmentally friendly way to manage it.

The municipality is currently reviewing its forestry practices in the reserve, albeit way to slow for many, but those who are poaching the best trees for personal gain, with no care for the damage being done in the publicly owned area, are jeopardizing the whole review process and are threatening the MFR’s delicate ecology.

Why this is happening now isn’t hard too hard to understand.

The price of lumber, along with steel and other building materials, is skyrocketing as the markets continue to reel from the long-term impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

When the pandemic first hit last year, lumber mills, along with most other non-essential businesses, were forced to close and that cut deeply into supplies of wood used for building, and those supplies are still far from reaching pre-pandemic levels.

At the same time, and also the result of the pandemic, a lot of those people stuck at home decided to take on home-renovation projects, including building patio decks and fences, so demand for lumber began to rise significantly as wood supplies dwindled.

That’s a recipe for super-inflated prices and, as a result, the costs of two-by-fours and other basic lumber used in building projects has doubled, and even tripled in some cases.

That’s why those jokers are suddenly showing up in the MFR and cutting down large trees.

If those trees were cut in eight-feet lengths and milled into boards, they would be worth a lot of money and worth the risk to those who have little regard for the cares and concerns of their fellow citizens.

I encourage people who regularly visit the reserve for recreational purposes to keep their eyes and ears open for any suspicious activities, and report them to the municipality or the police as soon as possible.

The sound of a chainsaw would be a good indication that there’s illegal activities going on, unless by municipal workers who are clearing paths of fallen trees or some other project, as there is no authorized cutting currently allowed anywhere in the MFR.

Fortunately, we already have some dedicated people here in the Valley who take it upon themselves to monitor the activities in the forest reserve, including Larry Pynn who founded sixmountains.ca, a website dedicated to providing information about logging in the MFR,

Pynn was the one who recently discovered a number of illegal logging sites within the reserve at Stoney Hill, Mount Prevost and other areas and gave officials in North Cowichan the heads up that there were nefarious activities underway on municipal lands.

He should be commended for his commitment to these public properties.

We are blessed to have such a beautiful forest reserve in North Cowichan, which is used extensively for recreational purposes such as biking and hiking, and it’s not fair that a bunch of gangsters have decided to use it, and deface it, for their own selfish purposes and at everyone’s else’s expense.

The sooner those people are in handcuffs, the better.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Column

Just Posted

Tim Wilkinson, who will attempt a double anvil triathlon on Vancouver Island on July 3, poses with his training partner, Shadow, who has been dragged up and down the Nanaimo Parkway many times. (Submitted)
Vancouver Island triathlete takes on ‘double anvil’ for charity

7.6km swim, 360km bike ride, and 84.4km run, all within 36 hours

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read