Trees in North Cowichan’s 5,000-hectare municipal forest reserve are being illegally cut down by unknown perpetrators.
Mayor Al Siebring said municipal forestry staff started seeing trees cut in a number of small and separate areas of the reserve around the Chemainus area, as well as near Mount Prevost and Mount Sicker, in January.
He said staff have come across other areas where trees have been taken down since then.
Siebring said that at least 50 trees have been cut down so far, some of them substantial, with many cut up into 16-inch rounds, and it appears that those responsible for the illegal logging were likely intending to return and retrieve the logs for use as firewood.
The issue is under investigation by the RCMP
“I can understand people wanting to cut up the dead fall in the MFR, and they would need a permit to do that, but cutting down live trees like this is certainly a problem,” Siebring said.
North Cowichan has suspended its own logging in the MFR in 2021 as the municipality works through a review of the reserve.