British Columbia

Police investigate alleged poaching of 300-year-old cedar

The old-growth tree was one of two officials say were poached from land that was about to become a park.

Old-growth tree was one of two officials say were poached from land that was about to become a park

The stump of an old-growth cedar that officials in the Regional District of Central Kootenay believe was poached. (Regional District of Central Kootenay)

RCMP in Nelson, B.C., are investigating two instances of alleged tree poaching, one involving a cedar tree that's hundreds of years old.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay says that two cedars were felled on property that was recently purchased by the district to be incorporated into the regional park system.

"We had a call from the public [that] a large cedar had been taken down in one of the areas we are taking over at Cottonwood Lake," says RDCK parks manager Cary Gaynor.

Gaynor says when officials visited the site just outside Nelson, they discovered two trees had been cut down, including an old-growth cedar estimated to be between 300 and 450 years old.

The trees were on land adjacent to Cottonwood Lake Regional Park that a private developer had planned to log extensively. A public campaign backed by the Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society managed to convince the district to purchase a 21.6-hectare portion of the land for $450,000 in March.

RDCK officials initially walked the land and specifically asked that the older cedar be integrated into the park experience as a "special feature and interpretive focal point."

Gaynor says some sections of the trees appear to have been removed.

He says the RCMP have started a file on the alleged theft and are hoping someone may have seen something.

Tree poaching is fairly common in coastal areas where individual trees can be worth thousands of dollars, but Gaynor says it's the first time he's ever come across it in the Kootenays.

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