RCMP are investigating after dozens of mature trees were found vandalized in a North Vancouver park — but officers are struggling to determine a motive for the acts.
Police say at least one suspect took a knife or some other tool and stripped the bark off the trunks of 30 to 40 trees on the north side of Princess Park over the course of 10 days.
“We have no idea why someone would want to do this, but it’s something we wish people wouldn’t do,” North Vancouver RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Peter DeVries said Friday.
DeVries said the damage was first reported to RCMP by the District of North Vancouver parks department. Concerned residents have also voiced their concerns.
“People in North Vancouver care a lot about the environment,” he said. “We care a lot about the trees and wildlife here, so anyone that does this kind of mindless damage, it’s concerning and it’s actually quite upsetting.”
In a statement, the district said while the trees are “unlikely” to die as a result of the damage, they’re now at greater risk.
“Structurally, the trees are fine, however the openings in the bark can act as a path or entry point to disease and pests,” a spokesperson said.
The district said the damaged trees include Hemlock, Douglas fir, Cedar and some deciduous trees.
Under the district’s tree protection bylaw, damaging a tree without a permit can earn a fine of $500. If that tree is a heritage tree, the fine goes up to $1,000.
DeVries said those responsible for the damage could also face mischief charges.
No suspects have been identified, with RCMP saying it’s difficult to pinpoint any persons of interest based solely on the damage.
DeVries also couldn’t say whether the vandalism is linked to any previous incidents.
In late 2018 and this past January, two old Douglas fir trees were illegally cut down in Inter River Park.
Anyone who was in Princess Park this past week and saw someone with a knife or tool is asked to contact North Vancouver RCMP.