Dozens of trees illegally cut down in Skagit County: 'It's gotten bad. Real prevalent'
SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. -- Deputies in Skagit County need your help to catch an illegal tree cutter.
In recent months, dozens of fir, hemlock, and cedar trees have vanished from Sauk Park and along a portion of the Cascade Trail.
"So, I’m coming out here every day," said Park Supervisor Rusty Regan as he walks along Concrete Sauk Valley Road. "I come out in the mornings and then I try to come out in the evenings also."
Every few feet, Regan can spot one.
"Up here we have a bunch of fir trees that have been cut," Regan said as she walked up to one of the areas that has been hit.
He sees a couple of rounds and stumps where trees once stood about 50-150 feet tall.
"20, 30, 40, 50. This is probably a 70-year-old tree. 70 to 80-year-old tree," he said.
Since last November, 33 trees have been illegally cut down in Sauk Park alone, Regan said. Another 100+ have vanished along a portion of the Cascade Trail in Skagit County over the past 7-8 months.
"I’ve never seen it to this extent. You know, I’ve seen a tree maybe every 3 or 4 years, somebody’s come along cutting something they shouldn’t have," Regan said. "2017 leading up into 2018… it’s gotten bad. Real prevalent."
Regan believes whoever’s doing it strikes after midnight when hardly anyone is around and cuts the trees to use them or sell them as firewood. Often times, they leave garbage like bottles, oil jugs, or gas cans behind, he said.
"My thoughts of it are is a lot of them are doing it to support their drug habits and then probably some of them to feed their families even," Regan said.
"It’s public land," said Brian Adams, Director of Skagit County Parks & Recreation. "When people come out and poach these trees, they’re taking from all of us."
The county hopes to use the land as a future campground to help ease the pressure from a camp site across the street that gets popular every summer, county leaders said.
During the off-season, the gate closes to keep tree poachers from getting in.
"Not only do they cut down big trees, they cut down little trees that are in their way for no reason," Regan said.
It’s damage Regan hates to see.
Ultimately, he wants the person or people responsible to get caught.
"We just want it to quit would be the ultimate goal," he said.
So far, the total value of the stolen trees stands at approximately $70,000, Regan told KOMO News.
If you know who’s responsible or spot someone illegally cutting down the trees, call the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office right away.