Mr. Johnston has already been sentenced to a year in prison, and this hearing is about how much restitution should be paid on his thefts.
and an older story with photos:
If you ever wondered about why we need to fund game wardens and park rangers, here is a great example. Reid B. Johnston is his name, out of Brinnon. Mr. Johnston has illegally cut down hundreds of trees,trees belonging to us, the public, as part of his personal operation to sell wood to instrument makers. These came out of the Dosewallips Drainage. Some of these trees supported the endangered Marbled Murelett, which has been an endangered bird species that led to some of the restrictions on logging that many loggers have blamed on job losses. Cutting down more habitat illegally will not help bring the species back to a number that can allow harvesting of the forest in years to come.
Hopefully, the feds will put him on multiyear probation to follow up on whether he actually stops poaching. It would also be great to see him tell the Feds who he has sold his wood to. I say this not to necessarily bust the buyers, but to determine which have bought the wood knowing it was stolen and which were duped. All should be helped to understand that purchasing wood like this may make their instruments subject to seizure. The days of “any old wood” are unfortunately gone. It’s been very difficult to bring in instruments from outside the US because of tightening of the demands of customs to prove you aren’t bringing in wood that’s been pillaged from rainforests, such as rosewood. I would hope that our local builders, and there are lots, are clearly checking their sources. I can imagine how easy it would be to ‘look the other way’ or buy some choice wood with a nod and a wink. And many of the builders are buying in very small lots. These are folks building in their garages,and their homes. Not big businesses like Martin or Gibson. Some buy old distressed wood. Some buy wood from folks who have been storing it out of the weather for years. It’s not always clear as to where the wood came from originally, or if it’s ‘legal’. There is so little actual enforcement in this area. It’s almost amazing that Mr. Johnston was caught, given the amount of forest around here and the small number of agents.
Mr. Johnston comes from a well known family in Brinnon. He apparently had some kind of drug habit, and this is not his first time in trouble. The PI reports that he was convicted of selling shellfish harvested from a beach that had been closed due to health reasons. Certainly, drug treatment would be a good thing while in prison. Rehabilitation if drugs like meth were involved could help him get back into society afterwards.
If you see cutting going on in what you consider a suspicious way, contact the local police or park. If you can take photos or video of the logger, do so. But be cautious, if Mr. Johnston was doing meth, these kinds of people can be very aggressive and dangerous if armed. Only photograph if you know you can be far enough away to not put yourself in danger. If you are a buyer, and it seems like the source isn’t being above board, walk away. You are supporting the rape of our forests. This one guy cut down a 300+ year old Doug Fir,8ft in diameter, along with over 100 other trees from the forest.
There are organizations supporting sustainable harvest, such as the Forest Stewardship Council,
and organizations like the Rainforest Alliance.
Locally, Edensaw Woods strives to market woods that support are certified. We support their efforts and hope you do too.