Arkansas man charged with cutting trees on Ouachita National Recreation Trail to get lake view from his home
ROLAND, Ark. – The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation after hikers noticed nearly 100 trees on a national trail had been illegally cut.
“There are dead branches everywhere and these trees – some of them won’t survive. Some will, but some will not. It’s not fair, ”said Kay Sanders, a hiker.
Sanders says she hiked the Ouachita Trail for 30 years near Spillway Road and was devastated to see the damage done last week.
“You don’t have the right to do that. No one has the right to do this, ”Sanders said.
According to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, a hiker saw six men picking up chainsaws from trees on the Ouachita Trail last week.
Central Arkansas Water, which owns the land the portion of the trail crosses, said an owner whose property backs onto the trail has contracted the work to be done.
“We don’t take things like this lightly. The treetops look like something out of Lorax, ”said Raven Lawson of Central Arkansas Water.
Lawson says she has received around 50 emails and dozens of phone calls from hikers unhappy with the damage.
She says after further assessment they believe 100 trees were illegally cut or razed because the owner wanted to see Lake Maumelle which was blocked by trees.
“The view of the lake could definitely be increased – the view of Pinnacle Mountain could be increased… there is definitely a lot of nature that could produce millions of dollars in views here,” Lawson said.
They believe most trees will die, and those that don’t will take years to grow back.
“A lot of damage and a lot of righteousness in thinking that you can do it all, that you have the power, when it’s not even your land,” Sanders said.
Central Arkansas Water says they are waiting to clean up the mess until the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office has completed its investigation.
As for the man accused of cutting down the trees, he did not respond to our request for comment.
Investigators say he could face first degree criminal mischief charges.