May 25, 2017 – The Cook County Sheriff's Office has received reports of illegal tree cutting in the Tom Lake area. A blue van with three to four adult males were witnessed in the Tom Lake area cutting down trees. Witnesses report approximately twenty-five Birch trees piled up. The trees are typically small birch trees which are sold to craft companies.
“Unfortunately, it seems there is a highly profitable market for these trees and bark,” said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. “Conservation officers are reporting an alarming rate of illegal cutting of birch trees across Minnesota and Wisconsin for use in decorating and sales to craft companies. This activity is damaging to our wilderness and wildlife, and these trees can take up to a decade or more to regenerate.”
If caught illegally cutting down white birch trees, punishment may vary from a substantial fine to even jail time. Birch trees can be harvested from public property in Minnesota, but only with written permission or a permit.
Anyone witnessing illegal tree cutting is encouraged to report the activity to the Sheriff’s office at 218-387-3030 or through the Cook County MN Sheriff’s Office & Public Safety Facebook page @CookCountyMNSheriff.
Contact: Valerie Marasco, Director – Office of Emergency Management & Public Information, 218-387-5366 or [email protected]