A Humboldt County man has been fined $11,000 and sentenced to 700 hours of community service after being found guilty of vandalizing old-growth coast redwoods in the Redwood National and State Parks.
Park officials announced the arrest of Danny E. Garcia last month after a yearlong investigation into the poaching of redwood burls — massive knobby growths prized by furniture makers and collectors for their unusual grain patterns. Poachers generally use chainsaws to hack the burls, which contain bud tissue that can sprout into a new tree, from the parent trees.
Garcia pleaded guilty on May 27 to a charge of felony vandalism in the case. Authorities dropped charges of felony grand theft and receiving stolen property. Garcia and another man arrested in the case, Larry Morrow, were both ordered to keep out of the Redwood National and State Parks. Morrow also pleaded guilty to felony vandalism and was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to pay $1,600 in restitution.
As the Eureka Times-Standard reports, a Humboldt County Superior Court judge also sentenced Garcia in connection with a 2012 disturbance in the town of Orick during which he yelled at cafe patrons and threatened to kill them. Judge Joyce Hinrich sentenced Garcia to a year in jail, a penalty she suspended with credit for 170 days already served, and placed him on probation for four years.
Park officials say other burl-poaching investigations are ongoing. The Center for Biological Diversity, Redwood Parks Association and Save the Redwoods League have joined forces to offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of redwood poachers. The parks’ law enforcement tip line is 707-464-7353.