Vancouver Island Red Cedar: 800-Year-Old Tree Hacked Down

VANCOUVER - A giant 800-year-old red cedar tree has been poached from a provincial park on southern Vancouver Island, but the culprits who repeatedly returned to the site to hack it down may never be brought to justice.

Torrance Coste of the Wilderness Committee said consistent budget cuts over the last decade mean park rangers rarely monitor remote sites such as the Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park, from where the cedar was chopped.

"Whoever's doing this knows that no one's going to have eyes on this park for months at a time so it's exceptionally easy to do what they've done," Coste said Thursday.

He said that last month, a member of the environmental group became aware of the poached tree and took a photo of about 20 per cent of its remains.

But when Coste went to the park about two weeks ago, more of the cedar had been cut and removed, he said.

"In the first photo, there were two big sections of the trunk beside the stump and when I went up there, there was only one."

He said a stump measuring about three metres in diameter is all that remains of the tree that was dragged across a parking area, where steel cables were left lying around.

"It's an example of how poorly protected our parks are that people can come and take our trees, without fear of repercussions, from our provincial parks."

Coste said 10 full-time park rangers monitor about 1,000 parks and protected areas across British Columbia, down from about 40 full-time positions in 2001.

Don Closson, who supervises the Cowichan area for B.C. Parks, said Parks officials at the site a year ago noticed that about 80 per cent of the tree had been cut through and that a professional faller was hired to bring it down because it posed a safety hazard.      (thecanadianpress.com)


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