Why put trees, salmon ahead of landowners?

Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2002

"Trees next to Duck Creek cut without permission" the ominous, front-page headline screamed. Local property owner has the sheer unmitigated gall to dare to cut down trees on his own land. Salmon, frogs and algae may die.

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Trees next to Duck Creek cut without permission

Whole area devastated and now resembles the surface of the moon. Possible penalties range from a piddling $100 slap on the wrist fine to a more reasonable $5,000 and a year in jail. A year in jail? How about 20-to-life?

But wait one minute before carting him off. As a former resident of Dunn Street, way back before McDonald's came to town, I'm a helpless victim. Those trees nurtured me, helped me, cared for me and loved me. They used to wave their branches at me when I entered the property, and I know, inside they were smiling because they knew I was their friend. That's right, I'm a tree hugger. I've been to all 50 states, and have literally hugged all kinds of trees - Georgia pines, Washington cedars, Minnesota birch, Hawaiian palm trees, and even redwoods in California - but those Dunn Street trees had a special place in my heart, and I'm devastated to the point of considering suing for $100 million in damages.

But, in order to be reasonable about the whole thing and avoid time-consuming litigation, I'm magnanimously willing to settle for only 1 percent. That's right, a cool million, after taxes, in small, unmarked bills.

Who should pay? Well, not just the developer, but the city and the state, who were negligent in allowing this horrendous outrage. And where were my friends from Club Sierra?

If only the powers that be had taken my advice and made chainsaw possession a class A felony, none of this would have happened! Well, sweet justice is a coming. Let no one think just because they own some land they have any rights. The interests of trees and animals, whether they be spotted owls, salmon, sucker fish or stinkbugs, must always come before the unbridled, planet-trashing greed of human developers. After all, humans are just here by accidental evolution, and we are all owned by Mother Earth. So it's time to send a message. Cut a tree - go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass "Go", do not collect $200.

Just make sure I get my settlement before re-educating, horsewhipping and incarcerating that recalcitrant scofflaw Harris.

Guy J. Crockroft


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