Redwood thievery spurs parkway closure

By The Curry Coastal Pilot February 21, 2014 10:22 pm

Thefts of natural resources in the redwood parks has officials planning to close a portion of Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, south of Crescent City, during evening hours.

The plan is still developing, but should be in place by March 1, said Redwoods State Park Superintendent Jeff Bomke.

The parkway will likely be closed during evening hours at the north gate, where it intersects with Coastal Drive, and at the south gate at the Elk Prairie Campground intersection.

The move is in response to an increase in thefts of burls, trees and logs in the Redwoods National and State Parks, Bomke said.

National Park Chief Ranger Marshall Neeck said the thefts have been occurring throughout the parks System, from the parkway in Humboldt County up to Walker Road off U.S. Highway 199 northeast of Crescent City.

“A lot of times what they’re really after are these burl growths on the side of these trees,” said Neeck. “That’s a pretty high value commodity in some of the specialty wood markets.”

Thefts have increased since the beginning of this year, Neeck said.

“This is the public’s resource,” said Neeck. “It’s really a crime against everyone who has come to appreciate the local splendors. These are areas set aside for public enjoyment. When someone carts them off, they’re not around to enjoy anymore.”

What’s worse is that the people behind the thefts are likely committing these crimes to fuel other social ills, such as drug use, Neeck said