Indigenous cutblock vandalized on Cortes Island, anti-logging element suspected

Ribbons pulled down, gravel poured into gas tank at Klahoose First Nation site

A watchman will be posted at the cutblock over night to prevent more vandalism. Photo supplied by Klahoose First Nation

A watchman will be posted at the cutblock over night to prevent more vandalism. Photo supplied by Klahoose First Nation

A woodlot belonging to the Klahoose First Nation on Cortes Island was vandalized multiple times over the last week.

Tactics right out of writer Edward Abbey’s novel The Monkey Wrench Gang were used on the Klahoose wood lot since the First Nation put up ribbons marking a road into the site.

“About three weeks ago we had it all ribboned off for a road to go back. After about four or five days someone went in there and ripped all of the ribbons out. We had to hire somebody to come back and engineer it again,” said Klahoose Chief Kevin Peacey. “A few nights ago, one of the guys went to jump into his machine and it wouldn’t start. He looked through his whole machine and somebody had put a bunch of dirt in the gas tank.”

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The plans are to log the land in question, but Peacey suspects some Cortes Islanders disagree with those plans.

“There’s a handful of people on the island who don’t support logging, but I just don’t think they have a right trespassing on Klahoose and doing that damage to us,” he said. “It’s what level do they come to right? Spiking the trees or who knows what they could do. It’s a sad situation that somebody on the island could do something like that.”

Peacey said the First Nation has hired a watchman to be on site through the night, and has set up cameras in and around the cutblock.

“I’m pretty good friends with the RCMP. He usually pops in once a week,” Peacey said. “I’m going to have a chat with him and if we find out who it is that is trespassing we will charge them.”

The damage was limited to one excavator. After a day and a half of work cleaning out the gas tank and the lines it was up and running again. They also replaced all of the ribbons marking the area.

Peacey has received a lot of messages from people in the community after he posted the pictures to Facebook.

“I got a lot of messages with people saying whose truck it is, it’s nice to have the community reach out to me,” he said.

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marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

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