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Vandalized trees may have to come down

The person or persons that sawed into two juniper trees in Poulsbo Village may have committed more than vandalism. The trees are next to Dogfish Creek, a Corridor Conservation Area protected by the city’s municipal code. Protections include no cutting of trees within 50 feet of the stream; the maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.  - Richard Walker
The person or persons that sawed into two juniper trees in Poulsbo Village may have committed more than vandalism. The trees are next to Dogfish Creek, a Corridor Conservation Area protected by the city’s municipal code. Protections include no cutting of trees within 50 feet of the stream; the maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.
— image credit: Richard Walker

POULSBO — The person or persons that sawed into two trees in Poulsbo Village may have committed more than vandalism.

The trees are next to Dogfish Creek, a Corridor Conservation Area protected by the critical areas ordinance in the city municipal code. Protections include no cutting of trees within 50 feet of the stream; the maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.

The trees are located between Poulsbo Animal Clinic and the creek, which is a salmon-bearing stream. Emily Nicholson, manager of Poulsbo Village, doesn’t know if the trees pre-date Poulsbo Village, which was built in 1985, or if they were added later as landscape plantings. But she does know this: “They were nice, healthy trees,” she said.

Dr. Craig Adams, veterinarian at Poulsbo Animal Clinic, noticed the cuts Thursday when he and a client were exercising a dog outside. He notified Nicholson, who in turn notified Poulsbo Police. She said sawdust was visible at the base of each tree when police arrived.

Each tree has two diagonal cuts, one on each side, into the middle of the tree — deep enough that a good wind could down either tree, Nicholson said.

It appears the cuts were made using a hand saw. It's believed the vandalism occurred Wednesday night.

Nicholson called the vandalism “an outrage.” She was expected to meet Tuesday, noon, at the site with an arborist and associate city planner Linda Mueller. Trees are important to salmon habitat. They provide shade to keep the water temperature low, provide erosion control, and provide food for the little stream bugs that salmon eat.

Nicholson expects the trees will have to be removed. Associate city planner Linda Mueller said the city will likely require new plantings to take the the trees' place. Trees provide shade for salmon that traverse the creek to spawn.

Eric Gayman, a certified horticulturist at Valley Nursery in Poulsbo, said the trees appear to be Hinoki Cypress, about 20-25 years old. He said that with a good sharp saw, "it doesn't take very long to do something like that."

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