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EDITORIAL: Tree cutting mystery
When dozens of trees fell in the forest, didn’t anybody hear? Or see something?
In early January, 35 trees were “cut, limbed or topped” in North Vancouver’s Capilano River Regional Park.
Even though the area is bordered by several residences the rogue lumber-jacking was not immediately reported to authorities.
A concerned citizen later called Metro Vancouver.
North Vancouver RCMP arrived at the scene shortly after.
A criminal investigation in now underway, but to date no charges or arrests have been made and an investigator is still taking statements and searching for witnesses, according to North Vancouver RCMP spokesman Cpl. Richard De Jong.
If caught, the suspect or suspects could face charges of mischief over $5,000.
And while it’s not a homicide investigation, North Van police are taking the file seriously. There’s been a lot of public outrage over the case.
As De Jong noted, it’s not the case of a stop sign being knocked down. Trees are part of our environment, our community and “aren’t easily replaced.”
Mitch Sokalski, West Area parks manager for Metro Vancouver, has been working in parks for more than 30 years.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time he’s seen trees illegally chopped down.
In one instance, the group involved came forward and admitted to their mistake and paid for a remediation of the site, he said.
The trees cut down in Capilano River Regional Park, were mostly cedar and firs. Many were mature.
“It’s appalling,” Sokalski said. “Fifty, sixty-year-old trees were removed from the park.”
As Sokalski noted, parks are public assets, something treasured throughout the region. And they need to be protected.
The illegal tree harvest in North Van cost more than $40,000 to clean up, according to media reports. The tree removal also threatens slope stability.
Sokalski commended RCMP’s diligent work on the tree cuting case.
“We’ll just have to wait and see where that all ends up.”
De Jong says tips are being followed-up on.
Like any unsolved file, it may only take one person to say something that will change the trajectory of the investigation. And now is not the time for sounds of silence.