A decade ago, British Columbia had 40 full-time park rangers who monitored 1,000 parks. Today, it only has 10. And they don’t often make it out to faraway parks like the Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park, which is on the southern end of Vancouver Island.
With no one around regularly, it must have been easy for poachers to come into the park and hack away at an 800-year-old red cedar tree. Well, “easy” is relative, because we’re talking about a lot of sawing — this granddaddy cedar was so old, its stump measures almost 10 feet in diameter. But there was so little supervision of the park that the tree thieves could return multiple times to hack at the tree and then haul sections of it away.
Aside from being ethically monstrous, it’s kind of the perfect crime. Cedar’s valuable — a truckload of the stuff could be worth thousands of dollars, the Canadian press reports. And there’s basically no chance the perpetrators will be caught, even though there are real, live Mounties involved:
“There’s not much we can investigate since we have no physical evidence or description of offenders and once wood is removed from the forest, it’s extremely difficult to track where it came from,” [Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Dave] Voller said.
“That’s one of the logistical problems with having a park that’s miles from anywhere, with no one who is on site as far as management goes,” he said.
Man, if Mounties can’t protect trees, WHO CAN?
Vancouver Island Red Cedar: 800-Year-Old Tree Hacked Down, Says Environmental Group, Canadian Press.