That's right: Some depraved reprobate(s) chopped down a 300-year-old natural wonder so they could hack part of it off, chainsaw it into a bear shape and hawk it to tourists on Hwy. 101.
This happened up in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park last month, and the nefarious deed has understandably unleashed the righteous wrath of local park rangers. In a press release issued today, a spokesperson for Redwood National and State Parks compared the crime to stealing part of the Statue of Liberty's crown or defiling the gravestones at Gettysburg.
A $500 reward is being offered for info that helps nab these scumbags. Read the press release below.
Crescent City, CA -- Sometime during the night and early morning of March 16th to March 17th, 2013, a large old-growth redwood tree was cut down illegally at Redwood National and State Parks in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park unit.
Most Americans would be appalled to learn that a part of their national or state heritage had been stolen, whether a piece of the Statue of Liberty's crown, gravestones from Gettysburg Battlefield, or a painting from a California mission. Yet this very thing is happening right in our backyard.
The destroyed tree was approximately 300 years old and healthy before it was cut -- destined to live 2,000 years. It appears that the tree was cut down in order to get to a large burl which was 50 feet up in the tree. Once the tree was down, the burl was cut off and hauled away.
Like the Statue of Liberty and Gettysburg Battlefield, the redwood forest is a national and state park belonging to all the people of the United States and California. Each time a piece of the park is stolen -- whether a burl, a tree, or an archeological artifact -- the thieves are stealing directly from the people of the United States and from our national legacy to the future.
Of the approximately 2.5 million acres of old-growth redwood forest that existed in the last few centuries, only four percent remains, half of which is in Redwood National and State Parks. The remaining forest is cherished by people around the world. In fact, Redwood National and State Parks were designated a World Heritage site in 1982. Not only is damaging and stealing any part of this heritage taking from our future generations, it is a criminal offense punishable by fine and incarceration.
Anyone having information regarding this crime please contact Ranger Danielle Westberg at 707-465-7345. A reward of $500 is offered for information which directly leads to the arrest of the offenders.
For the first time in 44 years of polling on the issue (and no doubt a lot longer than that), a majority of Americans think that Humboldt County's No. 1 cash crop oughta be legal, according to a national survey released today by the Pew Research Center.
Public opinion has been headed this way for a while. Even so, these results are fairly eyebrow-raising. They show a dramatic and rapid shift in attitudes about the "devil weed." Support for legalization has jumped by 11 percentage points since 2010, the year that Californians (and HumCo voters alike) shot down Prop. 19.
Way more people (48 percent) now say they've tried marijuana compared to a decade ago (38 percent). Only 38 percent of people consider pot a "gateway" to harder drugs, compared to 60 percent in 1977. And fewer than one in three people think marijuana use is immoral, compared to half of folks in 2006.
And perhaps most ominous for drug war hardliners (we're looking at you, Kamala Harris Melinda Haag) is this dank nugget:
Substantial majorities of both Republicans (67%) and Democrats (71%) also say federal enforcement of marijuana laws is not worth the cost.
This sea change in public opinion is looking more and more like an unstopable force, and it's colliding with the immovable object of federal drug schedules. Something's gotta give.
Warbler's tree-sit to stop the Willits Bypass is over. Redwood Nation Earth First! reports she was removed by climbers early this morning, and that the removal of the other tree-sitters in nearby trees is likely next. Reports RNEF!:
Warbler was taken down from a height of 55 feet by climbers accompanied by a massive show of force from California Highway Patrol (CHP), who arrived in the early morning fog with eight patrol cars, two command cars and a paddy wagon and many officers.
Caltrans has been clearing brush to build a fence along the project site. You can read about the project here. Press release below.
Redwood Nation Earth First! press release:
April 2, 2013
Breaking News: Tree-Sitters in Willits Being Taken Down by Caltrans
Willits, CA -- Early this morning the tree-sitter known as "Warbler" was removed from high up in the pine tree she has occupied for over two months in protest of the Caltrans Bypass in Willits in Mendocino County. Warbler was taken down from a height of 55 feet by climbers accompanied by a massive show of force from California Highway Patrol (CHP), who arrived in the early morning fog with eight patrol cars, two command cars and a paddy wagon and many officers. The scene was witnessed and reported by another tree-sitter named Falcon, in a tree across Highway 101 who had a view of the scene.
Warbler has become a icon in the fast-growing campaign in opposition to the Caltrans Bypass project, slated to destroy significant wetlands and an oak woodlands where nesting migratory birds have been spotted. Warbler embarked on a protest hunger fast on March 28. Supporters of Warbler and opponents of the Caltrans project are arrived en masse on the scene in this small Northern California town. At this writing, two people have been arrested for sitting in front of vehicles; more arrests are expected.
A "cherry-picker" truck has been sent to other tree-sits that have gone up in recent weeks in the Bypass path. Those extractions of sitters have not yet been verified but are in progress. Caltrans crews also cut down the large Ponderosa Pine tree Warbler has been living in after throwing her belongings to the ground.
There are photos taken on site that can be made available.
For earlier photos of Warbler and the campaign, see http://www.savelittlelakevalley.org/
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That is way cool!
Just my Freedom of Speech in America.