If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? No one knows. But I can tell you, if you go onto protected forest land to harvest trees or other products without a license, you may get arrested.
That happened to two men recently, who were stopped by Marion County deputies on Highway 22 near Stayton, carrying approximately 3,800 pounds of fir boughs they had illegally harvested from the Willamette National Forest.
Though they may have just been planning to make an epic, Gates of Mordor-sized wreath for their personal use, that’s not what they told the deputies. The two men — Jose Lucas Lucas, 42, and Juan Lucas Perez, 31 — said they planned to use the branches commercially in making holiday decorations.
They were cited for unlawful cutting and transport of special forest products, and their illicit harvest was seized.
Though piling two tons worth of tree branches onto a standard pickup truck is slightly unusual, Marion County Forest Patrol says that every holiday season, they find folks heading into the Willamette forest looking for a free Christmas tree.
Police say the illegal harvest and sales of special forest products is a continuing concern that threatens the natural beauty of the state’s outdoor recreational areas. Examples of special forest products include Christmas trees and boughs, cones, bear grass, salal (“suh·
laal”) and firewood.
Illegally harvested forest products are commonly used commercially in the creation of decorations, floral displays or shipped overseas.
For more information about special forest products and permit requirements please visit:
U.S. Forest Service – www.fs.usda.gov/main/willamette/passes-permits/forestproducts
Bureau of Land Management – https://www.blm.gov/programs/natural-resources/forests-and-woodlands/forest-product-permits
Oregon Department of Forestry – https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Working/Pages/SpecialForestProducts.aspx
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