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Massive Big Leaf Maple Theft On Washington State Parks Land

It could be one of the largest Maple wood thefts from Washington State Parks land. Thieves in search of valuable “figured maple” wood cut down 21 Big Leaf Maple trees on undeveloped property in southern Puget Sound. Park Ranger MischaCowles discovered the theft Friday on Harstine Island. She says she first noticed a road had been punched through a wall of ferns, Salal, and Huckleberry bushes.

“I just could feel something wasn’t going to be good at the end of that road and you just start seeing these trees down. Tree after tree on top of each other for no reason. They will never in our lifetime be there again,” Coweles said. 
Cowles calls the theft “devastating.” She estimates the trees were 80 to 100 years old. The thieves took just small sections of the “figured maple” and left behind the bulk of the felled trees. The high quality wood is sought after for guitar backs and fine furniture. 

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."