NEAR CRESCENT CITY, Calif. — Park officials found the first case of redwood poaching in the northern part of Redwood National State Park early this year. There have been several other cases in the southern portion of the park, but this is the first to impact the area east of Crescent City off of Highway 199 at Walker Road.
Poachers sliced 24 pieces of burl off of five trees in that area. Most burls are sold for use in decorative furniture.
Stefan Hauswald is visiting the park all the way from Maryland. He’s taking photos, trying to capture its beauty.
“It’s definitely an inspiring place to be as an artist,” said Hauswald.
But a part of that inspiring place is now gone. Rangers say it’s a growing trend. Each year they see more and more cases of criminals cutting burl from the trees for its monetary value. That particular part of a redwood is concentrated with genetic makeup. It’s essentially a clone of the tree itself.
So, slicing it off is like leaving an open wound. “It’s just tragic because you can’t replace this. It will take hundreds and hundreds of years for it to heal if the tree manages to survive,” said State Park Supervising Ranger Brett Silver.
Silver says there are about 12 park rangers in charge of patrolling the entire park, which is more than 130,000 acres.
At this point there are no active leads in the investigation into finding out who is responsible for poaching the trees near Walker Road.
It’s criminal evidence that will linger for years to come. “For generations people are going to see these burl scars,” said Silver.
If you see anything suspicious or have any information regarding the case off of Walker Road near Crescent City, call the park’s tip line at 707-465-7353.