Spider Lake resident Paul Christensen is hoping to raise awareness about trespassers stealing cedar boughs from private property. Christensen is pictured here with a hacked up cedar tree on his property.

Spider Lake resident Paul Christensen is hoping to raise awareness about trespassers stealing cedar boughs from private property. Christensen is pictured here with a hacked up cedar tree on his property.

Cedar boughs being stolen in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Spider Lake man has taken the matter to the Oceanside RCMP

There may be a new black market cropping up just in time for Christmas.

Spider Lake resident Paul Christensen said people have been trespassing onto his property, stripping his cedar trees and leaving piles of rubbish behind.

“It’s blatant disregard for private property,” he told

The NEWS Tuesday morning.

The culprits are after cedar boughs, Christensen explains.

Cedar boughs are valuable for their fern-like foliage and decorative qualities. They are often used to make wreaths and garlands sold in grocery stores, and sometimes on the side of the street, during the Christmas season.

He said two of his “No Trespassing” signs were ripped down and discarded earlier this week.

Christensen said there are sustainable ways to prune cedar trees for boughs ensuring regrowth — but whoever stripped his cedars didn’t take that route.

“They limb them all the way up to the top, hack all the branches off and leave the top,” he said. “It’ll take years for this tree to come back.”

Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman said a person could face charges of either theft for the removal of property or mischief for the damage of property.

“I’d like to see charges brought forward,” Christensen said, but noted it will be difficult to catch the culprit(s) in action on his expansive 70-acre property.

“This time of year, this type of thing can be a problem. However, if done properly it will not affect the tree,” said Foreman. “That said, nobody should enter private property to do anything for profit without permission or a permit.”

Foreman noted on Oct. 29 a Nanaimo couple was caught stealing boughs from Island Timberlands property.

“The couple later applied for, and received a permit to cut in the area which satisfied Island Timberlands,” said Foreman. “After the permit was issued, they decided that they did not want to consider charges.”

According to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations pubic affairs officer Greig Bethel, there are currently no regulations surrounding non timber forest products on Crown land. This includes the likes of cedar boughs, salal, salmonberries and nettle.

“The province does not actively manage for non-timber forest products,” Bethel said in an e-mail to The NEWS Tuesday. “However, there are restrictions on the gathering/harvesting of non-timber forest products, including on First Nations reserves, tree farm licences, leased Crown land and private lands. There are also restrictions in provincial and national parks, protected areas (ecological and special reserves), recreation areas and federal defence lands.”

Additionally, he said a person has to obtain authorization for the cutting and harvesting of tree boughs that are made into wreaths and other decorations.

“It’s been going on for years,” said an unsurprised Bill Veenhof, Regional District of Nanaimo director who represents Spider Lake.

“I know of a couple people who make Christmas wreaths and I know they aren’t harvesting their own cedar to do it.”

But Veenhof said this particular incident is concerning.

“It’s concerning because it happened on his land as opposed to on Crown land,” he said. “Certainly if you see someone doing it you should report it.”

Christensen said neighbours, many with large properties, have been hit hard with trespassing and greenery theft over the last few years.

He’s hoping to bring some awareness to the issue.

“There’s a lot of recreational hikers around and hopefully if they spot this activity they will report it to the RCMP,” said Christensen.

Just Posted

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Map of the site of a proposed 60-unit building project in French Creek. (RDN map)
Legal counsel wants board to award development permit for French Creek project

Issue is on agenda for RDN board meeting on June 22

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read