December 09, 2015 - 1:00 PM
SHUSWAP - Illegal tree cutting in a Shuswap nature reserve has community members outraged.
Two mature trees were felled in the Eagle River Nature reserve and chopped up, presumably for firewood, the Shuswap Trail Alliance says in a press release. The value of the downed hemlock and fir trees is estimated to be around $1,000 worth of firewood. Evidence shows truck tracks driven into the nature reserve along dedicated foot trails.
Lori Schneider Wood, with the Shuswap Trail Alliance, says the incident is unacceptable.
"Many of us have invested long hours and funds to ensure natural spaces like the Eagle River Nature reserve remain very special places for people to experience. There is absolutely zero tolerance for this kind of destruction,” Schneider Wood says. “Every time one person does something selfish like this it adds to the cumulative destruction of our parks and natural spaces. I can't even start to suggest the long-term cost for the ecology, recreation, and tourism."
B.C. Parks officials were notified, the trail alliance says, and they confirmed unauthorized removal of trees is an offence under the Park Act. Under current provincial legislation, illegal damage to critical habitat and protected areas are punishable with fines of up to $1,000,000 and jail time up to a year. Individuals considering cutting firewood can legally do so by first contacting the provincial Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
B.C. Parks and the Shuswap Trail Alliance are issuing a region-wide call for increased vigilance by residents, trail users, and stewards.
"If you see any activity that seems unusual, report it," Schneider Wood says. ”Especially tree cutting by unauthorized personnel within protected parks.”
B.C. Parks officials recommend taking a cell phone photograph and sending it in with as much detail as you can, including license plate numbers.
Report concerns, questions, and suspicious activity to RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) 1-877-952-7277 (1-877-952-RAPP), as well as sending a note to the Shuswap Trail Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, individuals wanting to remain anonymous when making a report can use the Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-800-222-8477.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at email@example.com or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015