The illegal tree and brush cutting occurring in the Parkway is truly tragic, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, but may be as much connected to the inadequacy of the maintenance and regular cutting-back of overgrowth that the County has been unable to afford for many years, as it is to Parkway adjacent residents wanting a better view of the river.
“The American River Parkway is the jewel of the region, a vast swath of forest, grassland and river that slices through the area, offering solitude and recreation to countless thousands each year.
“It also is the scene of frustrating criminal activity as people hack at trees and vegetation with chain saws and machetes. In some cases, the damage has been traced back to homeowners looking for a better view of the river.
“Sacramento County rangers say they are investigating two incidents near River Bend Park, where crime reports from December and January outline the destruction of native willow plants and alder trees.
"It's not real common, but this location has been a little bit of a problem in the past," Chief Ranger Steve Flannery said Tuesday as he inspected the damage downstream from the bicycle bridge that links River Bend and the William Pond Recreation Area.
“The first incident was logged in December, when authorities investigated a report of vegetation damage and found numerous willow plants that had been cut back on the River Bend side of the river.
"The area of the cutting is approximately 150 yards long and 30 yards wide," the crime report states.
“A few weeks later, in January, a fisherman called authorities about 12 alder tree trunks or branches that had been cut with a saw on an island in the river near the previous site.
“Flannery said such cutting typically takes place at night in midwinter, when fewer people are out along the parkway. From the growth patterns on the willows, he said, it appears the cutting has occurred repeatedly over a number of years.”