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Ladysmith wood-poaching case has similarities to North Cowichan

“It’s becoming quite a problem of people harvesting trees illegally.”

The Town of Ladysmith has disrupted a forest poaching operation featuring the same modus operandi as employed recently in North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve — the use of a U-Haul truck to haul away wood.

Ladysmith staff acting on a tip arrived near Stocking Lake, a municipal reservoir, on May 20 while a man was in the process of sawing up wood taken from the forest. The U-Haul was parked a short distance away on a gravel road.


“Staff went up there and found the guy doing it and told him to scram,” Ryan Bouma, director of infrastructure services for Ladysmith, told

“It’s becoming quite a problem of people harvesting trees illegally. It’s really unfortunate that nice forestland like that is being poached.”

It’s also unfortunate that Ladysmith is reluctant to pursue stronger action against the individual due to the effort involved. “Unfortunately, it’s difficult,” Bouma said. “We’re not police officers, right? We did get him out of there.”

Last June, North Cowichan hiked its penalties for illegal removal of wood in the 5,000-hectare forest reserve in response to a rash of poaching incidents.

Last December, authorities investigated a man sharpening his chainsaw next to a U-Haul truck on Mt. Prevost. Although freedom-of-information documents said the man admitted he planned to cut wood, he wasn’t charged because he hadn’t yet started.

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(Photos: wood cut near Stocking Lake).

— Larry Pynn, May 28, 2022

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