Illegal tree cutting at county park prompts investigation

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say dozens of trees have been illegally chopped down at locations in northern Washington.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office and the county Parks and Recreation department are investigating after the tree stumps were found in Sauk Park and along the Cascade Trail east of Hamilton.

Skagit County park ranger Shelby O’Malley says more than $14,000 in timber has been taken from the county park south of Rockport.

O’Malley says dozens of trees with some nearly 2 feet (1 meter) in width were cut down and hauled away. Authorities were alerted to the damage after park and trail visitors reported the missing trees.

O’Malley says authorities are still determining if a group or an individual is responsible and how the wood is being used.