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Agassiz RCMP seek public help as maple burl poaching problem persists

Harvesting the prized wood kills off old trees, RCMP says
Illegal harvests of maple burls is a common problem in the Agassiz-Harrison area. Agassiz RCMP are looking for the public’s help to prevent more trees from being killed by this poaching problem. (File Photo)

The Agassiz RCMP is seeking the public’s assistance after more reports of illegal maple burl harvesting from local private property.

Over the course of the past few months, multiple incidents were reported on rural properties on the north side of the Harrison River between Harrison Lake and Kilby. The “burl” refers to rounded growths at the base of trees, and they are highly sought after due to their unique grains. Harvesting the burls from very old, long-standing trees causes severe damage and will likely kill the tree.

“Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence in our area,” stated Agassiz RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Mike Sargent. “It is illegal to enter private property for the purposes of cutting maple burls and anyone caught engaged in these practices can face charges under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Forest and Range Practices Act.”

RELATED: Three men caught, charged after alleged illegal maple burls harvest in District of Kent

Last February, three men were arrested in the Green Point Park area north of Harrison Hot Springs, where they were caught harvesting maple burls. from the area. The three men were charged under the Forest and Range Practices Act; the Natural Resource Office was also involved in the investigation.

In February 2020, burl poachers hit 17 trees in the ecologically sensitive East Sector Lands near Harrison Hot Springs.

RELATED: At least 17 trees found damaged in East Sector park

From 2009 to 2021, the province received more than 1,100 complaints about illegal logging, issuing more than 1,000 tickets totaling $120,000 in fines.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation and similar incidents is urged to contact the RCMP at 604-796-2211. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

– With files from Patrick Penner


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Adam Louis

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