Thousands of trees make up Whistler’s forests, characterizing our resort community and providing many environmental, recreational, aesthetic, economic and health benefits. The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has policies and processes in place to protect trees from unnecessary harm or removal.
Do you need RMOW permission to cut a tree?
It depends. There are various regulations and site-specific conditions at play to determine the appropriate process for each tree or site. The Official Community Plan establishes Development Permit Areas which may require a Development Permit to cut a tree, or you may need a Tree Cutting Permit according to the Environmental Protection Bylaw.
Please contact the Planning Department by email or by phone 604-935-8170 to help determine whether you need RMOW permission to cut or alter a tree on your property.
Are there penalties for removing or altering an applicable tree?
Yes. The Environmental Protection Bylaw outlines that if an applicable tree is cut without the relevant RMOW permission, a ticket in the amount of $1,000 per day may be issued until the situation is resolved. In cases of non-compliance,Bylaw Services manages the ticketing process.
Provincial or federal laws may require an assessment, approval or permit process to cut or alter certain trees. For example, the Heritage Conservation Act requires a permit for the alteration or removal of a culturally modified tree.
Riparian Areas – The British Columbia Riparian Areas Protection Regulation must be followed in order to alter or cut trees located within 30m of a waterway (even in cases where trees may not meet criteria for requiring RMOW permission).
Birds and Bird Nests – The Migratory Birds Convention Act and the BC Wildlife Act can affect tree removal or modification since birds, eggs and nest trees are protected by law. Section 34 of the B.C. Wildlife Act provides year-round protection to birds’ nests. If you wish to remove or modify nest trees, you must seek permission and obtain a written permit from the Ministry of Environment’s Permit & Authorization Service Bureau AND you should check with Environment Canada to see if a federal permit is required under the Migratory Birds Convention Act regulations.
Christmas Tree Permits – Heading into the woods to cut your own Christmas Tree? Remember to get your free permit. Christmas Tree permits are available online through the Province of BC. You must have a valid permit to cut a Christmas Tree on Crown land.
For Tree Cutting Permit inquiries, please contact the RMOW Environmental Coordinator.