Saturday, March 1, 2014

Prairie Creek Scenic Byway Will Close Nights to Prevent Burl Piracy

Posted By on Sat, Mar 1, 2014 at 10:35 AM

No more purloined burl! (These are trees downed in a 2011 storm; road closure measures won't be this drastic.) - REDWOOD NATIONAL AND STATE PARKS VIA KCET
  • Redwood National and State Parks via KCET
  • No more purloined burl! (These are trees downed in a 2011 storm; road closure measures won't be this drastic.)
File under: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things.

Newton B. Drury Parkway, that languorous, serpentine, redwood-lined scenic bypass through Prairie Creek State Park, will now be closed dusk 'til dawn because of burl-raiding nincompoops. 

California State Parks announced the closure — effective Saturday at sundown — as a measure to keep people from poaching redwood burls, an increasing problem in the park. Burls are rare, and thusly lucrative as souvenirs and memorabilia for redwood-inspecting tourists.

From a press release:

Newton B. Drury Parkway will be closed on a nightly basis starting Saturday, March 1, 2014. The parkway will be closed each day at sunset and reopened at sunrise. The hours of closure will be variable as the time of sunset and sunrise changes. Closure hours may also be impacted if staff is responding to other emergencies. Patrols will also be increased during this time to ensure the protection of our natural resources.

This closure is in response to a significant increase in wood poaching crimes occurring along the parkway. These crimes usually involve cutting burl and bunion growths from both standing and fallen old-growth redwood trees. The wood is then sold for construction materials, ornamental furniture, and souvenirs. This type of wood is becoming increasingly rare and the most plentiful supply is often found on park lands.

Much of the illegal poaching occurs at night. The closure is a proactive step toward preserving our State’s priceless natural resources.

The parkway will remain open as usual during the daylight hours.

Access to Elk Prairie Campground in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is still available both night and day by taking the Newton B. Drury Parkway exit (Exit 753) off of Highway 101.  

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Grant Scott-Goforth

Grant Scott-Goforth has been an assistant editor and staff writer for The Journal since 2013.

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