GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The poaching of knobby growths on ancient redwood trees has spread to national forests in Northern California and Oregon.
The growths, known as burls, appear at the base of redwood trees, where they send out sprouts. Their intricate grain is prized for furniture and decorations.
The poaching has been a problem in Northern California's Redwood National and State Parks for years. Two men recently were convicted in a case there after rangers tracked slabs cut from a tree by chain saw to a redwood burl shop.
Wendell Wood of the conservation group Oregon Wild says he was out hiking recently and found two redwood trees with burls cut off.
One was along the South Fork of the Smith River on the Six Rivers National Forest near Crescent City, California. The other was along the Winchuck River on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest near Brookings, Oregon, in a stand that represents the northernmost reach of coast redwoods.
"I just casually stumbled into them," Wood said.
Each scar was about 2 feet square or less, he said. At the Oregon site, the poachers cut down nearby trees so they could turn their vehicle around on the narrow road.
Oregon Wild wants the forests to close old logging roads that poachers drive to reach the remote trees. Besides protecting the trees, it would stop people from dumping garbage on the roads, which are barely passable, even by four-wheel-drive vehicles, Wood said.