- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Authorities are blaming vandals for chopping down dozens of trees in Red Rock Canyon Open Space, leaving city parks and nonprofit group officials are wondering who would do such a thing.

A 20-foot ponderosa was discovered recently, the trunk at the top of a canyon and the bulk of the tree pushed over the edge, damaging smaller trees below. The tree fell close to Midland Trail and climbing routes.

The motivation behind the acts remains unclear because the trees have been left and not carted away for firewood or other types of harvesting.

The latest act of vandalism brings the number of illegally chopped trees to at least 30 during the past six months, said Scott Abbott, supervisor of Regional Parks, Trails and Open Space for the city.

At the end of last summer, parks officials started to see small aspen and elm trees that had been felled, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported (https://tinyurl.com/nm9j6q5 ).

“We see this as a horrible act of vandalism against our natural resources, which is one of the premier reasons the city’s so great,” Abbott said. “We have all of these wonderful places to visit and recreate, and we try very hard to protect these places.”

The city’s forestry division is trying to determine the value of the trees. Depending on the cost, the acts could amount to a felony.

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Information from: The Gazette, https://www.gazette.com

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