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Police investigating removal of old-growth cedars near Cottonwood Lake Regional Park

One of the felled trees near Cottonwood Lake Regional Park is estimated to be between 300 and 450 years old.

In a media release, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) said police have initiated an investigation following the report of two aged cedar trees that have been felled on private property near Cottonwood Lake Regional Park south of Nelson.

The RDCK said the trees were located on private land owned by Nelson Lands Corporation (NLC) that the RDCK has purchased for the purpose of extending the existing Cottonwood Lake Regional Park. The RDCK will be taking ownership of the land (21.6 hectares) on July 1, 2019.

“One tree is estimated to be between 300 and 450 years old, while the other is between 50 and 60 years old. It is likely the trees were felled recently,” the RDCK release said.

“The RDCK is working closely with the RCMP and the landowner to identify the perpetrators.”

The RDCK said the older cedar was intended to be integrated into the park experience as a special feature and interpretive focal point.

“With the permission of the landowner, the RDCK is installing signs indicating that the land is private property and is also installing a gate to prevent further access to that portion of the property,” the RDCK said.

The existing Cottonwood Lake Regional Park, located off Highway 6 approximately 10 kilometers south of Nelson, remains open for recreational enjoyment.

Anybody with information is asked to call the RCMP (Nelson detachment) at 250-352-2156.

Last December, the Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society was created to help save private lands surrounding the regional park from logging.

In March, the RDCK announced it has approved the purchase of 21.6 hectares (ha) of private land around Cottonwood Lake that had been slated for logging by the private landowner.