A trial in territorial court resulted in $2,500 in fines for a man who was found responsible for the cutting of hundreds of trees to expand a trail south of Beaver Creek.
The April 21 ruling from Territorial Court Judge Peter Chisholm convicted a man named David Dickson of harvesting timber without a permit in violation of the Forest Resources Act. The charges stemmed from an August 2019 complaint from the public which was investigated by Natural Resource Officers.
According to an April 30 news release from the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, hundreds of trees were cut and left lying on the Sanpete trail. Jason Hudson, head of enforcement for the department, said the investigation began shortly after the complaint from the public was received and continued into the fall.
Earthwork berms and boulders were also placed on the first kilometre of the trail, in addition to the fallen trees, according to the Yukon government’s statement. Hudson said an ATV and a bobcat or similar vehicle were used. The investigation found that approximately four kilometres of the trail, which is on public land, were affected.
Hudson said investigators interviewed Dickson as well as other witnesses before proceeding with the charges.
Dickson pleaded not guilty and the case proceeded to trial.
Along with the Forest Resources Act charge, a charge under the Territorial Lands Act which Hudson said related to the clearing of vegetation with a motorized vehicle was also pursued. The second charge was stayed by the court due to a statute of limitations issue which Hudson said resulted from a recent change in legislation.
The tree felling and other work were not permitted and Hudson suggested it might have been done to limit public access to the trail which he said is used by ATVs and people on horseback. Hudson said members of the public can seek a permit for this type of work through the forest resource branch, but it wouldn’t necessarily have been granted in this case.
Hudson said cases of unpermitted logging are not something he deals with often, but any tips from the public are appreciated and followed up on to the best of the department’s ability.
The media advisory from Energy, Mines and Resources goes on to state that suspected violations of Yukon natural resource legislation can be reported confidentially to any of the compliance monitoring and inspections district offices. There are eight offices located in Carmacks, Dawson City, Haines Junction, Mayo, Ross River, Teslin, Watson Lake and Whitehorse. Phone numbers for each office can be found at www.yukon.ca.
Dickson did not return a request for comment by the Yukon News’ deadline.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org