Men charged for Redwood poaching

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Men charged for Redwood poaching

Two men were charged for Redwood poaching this Wednesday at the Redwood National Park.

Two men were charged for Redwood poaching this Wednesday at the Redwood National Park.

Two men were charged for Redwood poaching this Wednesday at the Redwood National Park.

Two men were charged for Redwood poaching this Wednesday at the Redwood National Park.

Alex Yang, Staff Writer

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A suspected redwood tree “slasher” and was arrested after park officials tracked the wood poacher and partner to a Del Norte County shop where they allegedly sold the lumber.

Forty-three-year-old Danny Garcia of Orick was charged this Wednesday with felony grand theft, vandalism, and receiving stolen property after the redwood burls he allegedly sold matched the large cuts found in an old growth tree in Redwood National and State Parks.

His partner, Larry Morrow, 34, also from Orick, was charged with the same crimes.

Redwood Park Ranger Jeff Denny said, “We have successfully identified at least two individuals we feel are responsible for this crime. However, we are not under the impression that these are the only individuals involved in this kind of activity in the park.”

Burl poaching, which involves cutting the valuable knobby growths at the base of redwood trees, is a growing problem in far Northern California, where most of the state’s existing old growth trees remain. The ancient growths are prized by woodworkers because of their intricate ring patterns and are often used to make tables, furniture, knife handles, trinkets and other lumber products.

Sophomore Josh Pogue said, “I never heard about this activity before this incident but I think that it needs to be stopped immediately before people begin having a big impact on our forests.”

Depending on the size and quantity, a wood burl can be sold anywhere from $200 to $2,000.

Denny added, “There is a financial incentive. Burl is being sold internationally as well as in the local market.”

The 10-foot diameter redwood tree was badly damaged, but is expected to survive. The problem is that the sprouts from burls are an important part of redwood regeneration.

Sophomore Brent Jang said, “I understand that the people who cut the trees have some personal incentive or need but I just don’t think that it is right for someone to chop down a tree, especially in a national park.”

The culprits cut the burls into slabs weighing more than 100 pounds each dragged them several hundred yards to a road. They were so large that some of them were left behind.

“We’ve had half a dozen incidents of these very large cuts within the last two years and we’ve documented other wood poaching in the park,” Denny said. “It is our hope that we can stem the tide of this type of crime, show people we are working to protect their parks and let the public know that this is a significant problem in our parks.”

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