The ancient cedar, located near the parking lot of the park, was
attacked by poachers last year. The poachers cut 80 per cent of the
way through the tree but were unsuccessful in felling it.
however was sufficiently damaged that BC Parks staff had to cut the
cedar down for safety reasons.
After the damaged giant was felled, the cedar poachers returned
at their leisure to cut up and haul out most of the tree. All that
remains of the 800 year-old cedar is a stump – nine feet in diameter.
The poachers were still removing sections of the cedar in the last
couple of weeks.
“We are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a
conviction because someone needs to stand up for BC’s parks and our
provincial government clearly isn’t doing the job,” said Gwen Barlee,
Policy Director with the Wilderness Committee.
“With only 10 full-time
park rangers for over 1,000 parks and protected areas poachers know
there is almost no chance of them being caught.”
The management of BC parks has been a hot potato for the
provincial government. A series of unpopular measures have been
introduced over the last decade including: weakening the Parks Act,
changing park boundaries to allow for industrial development, cutting
the operating budget, reducing park rangers by over 50 per cent, and
axing government-funded park interpretive programs. Since 1999 visits
to BC parks have dropped by over 20 per cent – a decline not seen in
“Hopefully the reward will result in someone coming forward to
the RCMP, and these poachers will answer for this criminal act,” said
BCGEU president Darryl Walker. “These kinds of incidents are the
unfortunate result of having too few eyes and ears on the ground to
protect our public parks.”
British Columbia has only 10 full-time permanent park rangers to
patrol 1,000 parks and protected areas covering 14,000,000 hectares.
In the summer months 87 additional part-time park rangers are hired,
but even at the temporarily increased numbers there is just 1 park
ranger to patrol 10 provincial parks. Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park
is 16,450 hectares in size.
Information on the red cedar poaching should be directed to the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment.
Gwen Barlee, Policy Director, Wilderness Committee, 604-202-0322 (c)
or 604-683-8220 (w); Chris Bradshaw, Communications Officer, BCGEU,
The Wilderness Committee is Canada's largest membership-based,
citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization. We work for the
preservation of Canadian and international wilderness through research
and grassroots education. The Wilderness Committee works on the ground
to achieve ecologically sustainable communities.
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