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Second tree-poaching site revealed on Stoney Hill

Another tree-poaching site has come to light on Stoney Hill near Maple Bay, within North Cowichan’s 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve.

This latest site contains numerous cut trees, mostly Douglas firs, and is separate from an earlier site reported on by sixmountains.ca that involved large cedars.

“The trees appear to be poached as there is no authorized cutting permitted in Stoney Hill,” the Municipality said in a statement Monday. “We continue to monitor…for any new activity.”

The Municipality has posted several signs on Stoney Hill in recent days in an effort to deter illegal wood cutting as well as illegal use of motorized vehicles.

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North Cowichan is also conducting a review of its bylaw penalties for violations in the forest reserve.

Under the Forest Use Bylaw, the offence entitled “remove forest products without permit” carries a fine of just $200 — the same as for littering in the reserve — even though stolen trees can be worth thousands of dollars.

The offence of “operate vehicle off road” in the forest reserve carries a $400 penalty.

CHEK News video journalist Skye Ryan visited Stoney Hill last Friday to report on tree poaching. Her report and video can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/2QVzNXq.

Currently, there is a moratorium on logging in the forest reserve. Public consultations are on hold while secret talks continue with local First Nations.

Anyone witnessing or having knowledge of tree poaching in the reserve should call 911 or municipal hall at 250-746-3106.

— Larry Pynn, April 26, 2021