[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]
Three US truckers were caught in the New Brunswick governments crackdown on native-logging operations yesterday. Rangers with the provincial Department of Natural Resources stopped three trucks with Maine licence plates at about 2 a.m. They were leaving a logging site on Crown land near Blackville, 90 kilometres northeast of Fredericton. The trucks and their loads of expensive white pine logs were seized, joining eight other such vehicles that have been impounded by the province since the controversial enforcement effort began two weeks ago.
While officials in the Department of Natural Resources said the wood on the trucks was cut on Crown land, they said both native and non-native people appeared to be involved in the logging operation. The arrests were part of an attempt by the provincial government to stop the shipping to the United States of what it believes is wood illegally cut from native logging sites on Crown land. Louella Woods, spokeswoman for the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources, said there are only a few native logging operations still cutting wood on Crown land. "We know that there are groups still operating and they have to comply with the law," she said.
Since the enforcement effort began the rangers have concentrated on choking off the movement of logs to mills and have avoided confrontations with people working in the woods. Ms. Woods said that previously much of the wood that was cut on Crown land was shipped to Maine by Canadian truckers. Now, the fact that Americans were driving the trucks that were stopped may indicate that fewer Canadian truckers want to risk being arrested for hauling illegally cut wood, she said. The move also took place after some native loggers asked their fellow woodcutters to stop felling trees so their leaders could try to negotiate a settlement with the provincial governnment. But Tim Paul, president of the 300 member Native loggers Business Association, acknowledged that some native people are still working in the bush.