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Someone is illegally cutting down trees at this Skagit County park - dozens of them

Dozens of trees have been illegally cut down since at least December at Sauk Park south of Rockport and along the Cascade Trail east of Hamilton, according to Skagit County park ranger Shelby O’Malley.
Dozens of trees have been illegally cut down since at least December at Sauk Park south of Rockport and along the Cascade Trail east of Hamilton, according to Skagit County park ranger Shelby O’Malley. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office and Skagit County Parks and Recreation are investigating the illegal cutting of trees at Sauk Park south of Rockport and along the Cascade Trail east of Hamilton.

Dozens of trees have been cut down since at least December, Skagit County park ranger Shelby O’Malley said. More than $14,000 worth of timber has been taken at Sauk Park alone.

O’Malley said the investigation is ongoing and the dollar figure continues to grow as she documents stumps and sections of cut trees.

“It’s unfortunate. It’s illegal and we want it to stop,” she said.

The 30-acre county park on the Sauk River between Rockport and Darrington offers primitive camping in an area with dense forest and views of the river. It’s located near where Concrete-Sauk Valley Road and Highway 530 meet.

“It’s an incredible, beautiful campground. I mean it’s quite stunning there during the summer months,” Skagit County Parks and Recreation Director Brian Adams said.

O’Malley said the illegal tree cutting was discovered after park and trail visitors reported damage in the Sauk Park camping area and along a section of the 22.5-mile Cascade Trail that runs from Sedro-Woolley to Concrete.

saukpark2
Sauk Park, a 30-acre county park between Rockport and Darrington, offers primitive camping in an area with dense forest and views of the Skagit River. Skagit County Parks & Recreation Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

The investigation has revealed that dozens of trees – some as large as 21 inches in diameter – have been cut down recently and hauled away.

“It’s not what we like to see. Parks are for your enjoyment, not for your personal gain,” Skagit County spokeswoman Bronlea Mishler said.

It boggles the mind. I’ve never walked through a forest and thought ‘You know, I could take that with me.

Skagit County spokeswoman Bronlea Mishler

O’Malley said it’s unclear whether a single person or a group is responsible and whether those cutting the trees are using them or selling them as firewood.

Mishler said either way, it’s unacceptable.

“It boggles the mind. I’ve never walked through a forest and thought ‘You know, I could take that with me,’” she said.

The sheriff’s office and county parks are asking anyone with information to call the nonemergency line at 360-428-3211.

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