Tree-vandals and a Reward

vandalized tree in Golden Gate Park - photo Richmondsfblog

Click here for report in RichmondSFBlog

San Francisco apparently has vandals that hate trees.

This is not the casual vandalism of drunk teenagers mowing down a tree because it’s in there, or a car reversing into a sapling. This is deliberate destruction of young trees in Golden Gate Park and elsewhere.  According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle:

” It all started in September, when crews found 28 damaged trees in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, many broken beyond saving. Crews noted the suspicious, almost meticulous nature of the damages. The 3-year-old trees were part of a reforestation plot near La Playa and Fulton streets, and every one of them had been attacked.”

The report goes on to say that over 200 trees have been destroyed since September, according to Eric Andersen, Golden Gate Park manager. It goes on to explain that most of the killed trees are Monterey Pine and Monterey Cypress, and quote Andersen’s description of the damage:

“What they’ve done is gone through each of these areas in each of these instances and basically snapped off the top of the tree,” Andersen said. “They’ll go through and do every tree, in a very thorough and damaging way. It’s really malicious, and very thorough, and very methodical.”

This isn’t the first time it’s happened. There were reports of tree-vandals back in 2010, when 44 trees were destroyed. At the time, no one was caught, and a corporate sponsor offered to replace the trees. According to the RichmondSF blog, Chase paid $30,000.


San Francisco Forest Alliance would like to help stop this despicable activity. We’re pledging a $1000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the vandal/s.  We have sent the letter below to Eric Anderson:

Dear Mr. Andersen:

The San Francisco Forest Alliance was disturbed to hear about the destruction of hundreds of young trees in Golden Gate Park and the surrounding areas. Our city already has one of the smallest urban forest canopies in the country, and we support initiatives that would expand this, especially in this time of climate change. As it is, our trees are under threat from native plant supporters who wish to fell thousands of trees because they’re not native. A lot of trees have actually been killed. On Mount Davidson and elsewhere in the city, trees have been girdled and left to die for this very reason.

Our organization wishes to pledge a sum of $1,000 as a reward to be disbursed by the San Francisco Police Department as they see fit for information that leads to the arrest of people who committed these recent crimes. We call on other environmental organizations to match our pledge in the hope that the vandals can be found and stopped.

Please let us know if there if there is anything we may do to further assist you with this incident.

San Francisco Forest Alliance

We ask other environmental organizations to add their own pledges. Perhaps if the reward is attractive enough, someone will come forward with information.


We have come across tree vandalism before, but that was with Native Plant supporters girdling mature trees to kill them. It happened in a number of Natural Areas, including Bayview Hill and Mount Davidson. Someone also reported broken-off trees in Glen Canyon Park.

A few days ago, someone discovered more girdled trees on the north-eastern edge of Mount Davidson, in the vicinity of the slash in the mountain made to install the new water-pipe. These are not recent, but we think they may have been made within the last 5 years.  We have been told that the Native Plant supporters are no longer doing this. We hope that is true.

Girdled tree Mount Davidson