This past April, we had unexpected visit from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Three Natural Resource Officers (NROs) – in full uniform – drove into our parking lot. Turns out they were looking for agents of logs. How did they figure we dealt with logs? Well, we’re listed in the Victoria Yellow Pages under ‘Millwork’. True story!! They thought we were a mill.
Nevertheless, this prompted us to ask questions and this is what we discovered. Compliance & Enforcement (C&E) is the law enforcement arm of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Its main purpose is to make sure that a variety of resource management laws are being followed on and in BC’s public lands, water and forests and to take action where there is non-compliance. They also have been designated as Special Conservation Officers, Land Officers, BC Parks Rangers and Fisheries Inspectors with the authority to enforce the associated legislation.
There are over 150 Natural Resource Officers currently working throughout the province; actively patrolling and enforcing a broad cross range of environmental and natural resource management laws covered by the Forest Range Practices Act (FRPA), Wildfire Act, Forest Act, Range Act, Land Act, Water Act, Forest Practices Code of BC Act (FPC) and Off-Road Vehicle Act (ORV). That’s a heck of a lot of legislation to administer. Thousands of inspections are conducted every year.
NROs deal with issues such as illegal cabins or structures and illegal occupation of Crown land (squatting), dumping of garbage/waste discharge, alterations to foreshores or riparian areas of lakes/streams, land tenure requirements, dangerous wildlife, irresponsible ATV/motorbike use….and obviously, the control of the province’s natural resources; i.e. LOGS. That’s a very big resource, both historically and currently.
We were told that no log may be logged and moved off crown or private land unless the timber has been marked in a prescribed manner with a timber mark that pertains to that land (Forest Act – Chapter 157). Private timber marks are required for transporting logs from privately-owned land. Even for trees that are removed off-site from our own residential properties.
When you see a logging truck, you might see timber marks that are painted on the logs with spray paint or hammered onto the end of the log. A timber mark certifies the ownership of the logs, tracks log movement and helps to prevent theft of the province’s timber from Crown land. A timber mark is usually a series of five unique letters and/or numbers; like ABCDE.