Know Your Boundaries to Avoid Timber Trespass and Theft

Andrew Smith
Senior Assistant Director
Governmental Relations
Lately I have seen a greater number than normal logging operations going on around my home in rural Virginia. It always brings to mind the important issue of property lines. So often I hear of disputes after timber has been cut because of someone not knowing or making assumptions about boundary lines. I hear the discussion of what is the difference between “timber theft” and “timber trespass” often.  Though the issue isn’t a simple one. Primarily the difference comes down to whether the boundaries of the property not being harvested were clearly marked or not showing others where the lines are. Certainly the harvested property owners should know where their lines are, but whether or not the neighboring property is clearly marked can make the difference between timber theft and timber trespass.

Honestly, what can make the difference is a walk in the woods and a can of paint. It pays to know your property lines and monuments and to routinely make sure they are marked. Don’t get me wrong, I realize the diverse terrain of Virginia’s landscape, where walking 100 acres in Hanover County isn’t the same as walking the same number of acres in the western portion of the state. The bottom line making sure your lines are clearly marked could save you a lot of money and headache in the future. It pays not only in forest management, but during hunting season as well.

There are some great articles that explain the issue in more detail and we make them available to you here. I encourage you to print them out and give them a read. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention…

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