UPDATED Tuesday, April 29, 2014 --- 9:45 a.m.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A sheriff says people have been illegally cutting down walnut trees in southern Wisconsin to sell the valuable wood.
Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden says landowners have confronted loggers who cut down as many as 20 trees on private property without asking permission.
Brian Knudson tells Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/1ixFPik ) that loggers cut down 12 to 20 trees on land owned by him and a neighbor. He says the loggers offered him $1,000 per tree to keep quiet and not report the activity to law enforcement.
Brian Brookshire is executive director of the American Walnut Manufacturers Association. He says walnut wood is commanding a near-record price right now.
A 16-foot log that's 26 inches in diameter can bring in $3,000.
Copyright 2014: Associated Press
Posted Monday, April 28, 2014 --- 2:23 p.m.
Rock Co. deputies are warning residents about people who may be harvesting trees illegally.
On April 17th, a Town of Magnolia landowner contacted deputies about people who logged trees on his property the previous day without permission.
He confronted the loggers who claimed they had mistakenly chopped down Walnut and Oak trees that were supposed be chopped down on an adjacent property.
The landowner believed the loggers' explanation was a rehearsed response to cover illegal activity.
Deputies say it appears other landowners in the Town of Magnolia have experienced similar incidents.
The price for lumber from these trees is apparently high, which deputies believe may explain these incidents.
To legally harvest trees in Rock County, a form can be obtained and submitted for approval through the Rock County Clerk’s Office.
The Sheriff encourages anyone with information related to illegal tree harvesting to contact the Rock County Sheriff’s Office.