Stealing wood

Forum: Wood & Lumber

I’m no thief, so let me get that out of the way real quick. :-)

Yesterday, while riding my bike with my 4 year old (he’s already an expert rider!), we passed a cherry tree next to the street that had recently been trimmed to keep the branches off the sidewalk. At the very end of one of the cut branches (directly behind the cut) was a ~12" diameter burl.

The tree itself is located in a nature preserve next to a busy street. I’m pretty sure there is a hefty penalty for “destroying” wildlife in a nature preserve, even though, if I were to take that burl, I would only be cutting 12" off an already cut branch. It’s not like cutting the tree down to get to the base.

I know legally it’s wrong, but ethically, is it such a bad thing? Someone estimated that we all break at least 3 laws a day unknowingly, and the law is so Byzantine that it’s become completely disconnected from morality, so I don’t give the law (other than God’s laws) much weight. Plus, as a taxpayer, I have some ownership stake in the park and all its resources. Also, since the branch was cut immediately after the burl, I suspect the guy trimming it may have a plan to come later for it, so if I don’t take it, someone will almost guaranteed.

It’s like a piece of candy being held out to tease me. :-(


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4 Replies

Madts ...

As far as I am concerned, if it is on the curb it is free game.


Brian ...

It’s not on the curb. That would be a no brainer. It’s still on the tree.

Madts ...

Then I would ask. They most probably do not know what they own. Offer them ten bucks to cut it off.


Brian ...

It’s in a nature preserve. “Them” is the town. I live in Long Island, NY, just outside of NYC, home to 10 million people. The town is a massive kleptocracy.

In the very rural town I grew up in, I could ask. That person would have been one of my neighbors. Surely my parents would know the guy very well. And the only reason he would say no would be if he wanted it for himself after I alert him to its existence.

And despite the density, where I live still has a little bit of small town feel. All the neighbors know each other and look out for each other. It’s all owner occupied single family homes here. But when it comes to the town, it’s still a giant bureaucracy. For example, the speed limit changed in a short section of one of the main roads here and it came up in the local newspaper as to why, because there was no notice. The reporter went to the town and couldn’t get an answer except ask the county. He went to the county and got the same run around and finger pointing back at the town. Kind of humorous because it was not exactly a life altering event but it shows how the place is an impenetrable kleptocracy. Asking them will probably result in some kind of fine or blacklisting or surveillance. It’s a non starter. That’s why I’m considering simply taking it.