Burl Poacher Arrested, Says Redwood National Park

 burl tree

Burls on a Redwood tree in Southern Humboldt. [Stock photo by Kym Kemp]

Press release from Redwood National Park:

While on routine patrol in January, law enforcement rangers from Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) located a redwood poaching site inside the park boundaries. It was an old-growth redwood with massive chunks cut out from the base of the tree.

During the ensuing investigation, rangers identified a suspect in the nearby town of Orick, Calif. Rangers were able to obtain enough information during the investigation to obtain a search warrant for the suspect’s residence.

On March 27, 2018, law enforcement rangers served a search warrant in Orick. During the service of the search warrant multiple pieces of old-growth redwood were discovered matching the poaching site. Rangers also discovered methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, illegal weapons and various items of stolen property.Derek Alwin Hughes

The 35-year-old suspect, Derek Alwin Hughes, of Orick was subsequently arrested. Hughes was booked under the following charges:

-PC 594(a) – Vandalism

-PC 496(a) – Receiving Stolen Property

-PC 487(a) – Grand Theft

-PC 21810- Possess Metal Knuckles

-HS 11377(a) – Possess Methamphetamine

-HS 11364(a) – Possess Paraphernalia

In early May, rangers transported the redwood found during the search warrant to the poaching site. They were able to determine that redwood found at the residence came from the poaching site.

Criminal charges are pending. The investigation is still open.

Redwood National and State Parks contains 133,000 acres of federal and state land in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

Ranger measuring burl cut damage

Ranger measuring burl cut damage. [Photo from Redwood National Park]

Nearly 39 percent of the remaining old-growth redwood forest in the world is found within RNSP. The parks have experienced an increase in the illegal cutting and theft of old-growth coast redwood burls in recent years.

Burl poaching involves the cutting of burls from both live and dead trees, felling of living old-growth redwood trees to access burls from higher up the stem, and the cutting of down logs for ornamental furniture, veneer, and souvenirs. This uncontrolled and illegitimate harvesting of burls directly threatens individual old-growth redwoods, the prime resource of RNSP, a designated World Heritage Site, and includes related impacts to the surrounding ecosystem, threatened and endangered species, and the parks’ scenic values.

Redwood National and State Parks urges anyone with information regarding this case or any redwood poaching within the parks to contact the RNSP anonymous tip line at (707) 465-7353.

For questions about the incident, please contact Ranger Troy at (707) 465-7751.



  • tweeker scumb!

  • Go get ’em, Rangers! Great job!

  • Capitalist pig

    Wow the tweakers destroyed a perfectly good stump Definitely a death penalty offense

  • It does look to be a large stump, but those stumps will last for centuries to remind us of San Francisco, ferndale, eureka, and any other town with old growth redwood victorian districts.
    Let’s have Julia butterfly sing him a song to learn him the error of his ways, and a year of customer service at the arcata co-op as elevate him out of his homely timber town customs.

  • I wonder if it is the burl poacher that has cut in Mendocino Co.

  • I know I’m not supposed to make fun of people’s personal appearances so I’ll just go with wow, straight from central casting.

  • Thats a large crime compared to all the old growth trees that Wher cut peaple came in here and just started cutting shit down like it was thars and killing the native peaple for thar own gain makes me sick thinking how it all came down greedy bastards

  • The park description is a bit misleading; of the 133,000 acres that make up the park, only about 30% contains old growth…

  • I have a quandry with this issue and people in General? Okay the current protest in Arcata is over the removal of a statue from the plaza.This U.S.President was shot and killed by an anarchist but i’m unfamiliar with politics of over 100 years ago and stand neutral. At the same time some whacked-out meth user with a chain saw is busy “removing burls” from a tree which was alive at the time.. and i don’t see protests or calls & demands from the anarchists??? One step foreword/two steps back?

    • Soon-to-be Former Supervisor Ryan Dumberg

      What does William McKinley’s statue have to do with this story? Nothing, of course, but whatever you do, Randy – don’t let logic get in the way of your straw-man arguments. 🐘

    • Apples vs. oranges. Missed your mark, Randy,

  • Must have been a crappy burl if it lasted this long

  • That was a stump the tweeker was hacking up i’ve lived here for 60 years and when i was a kid i would get permits from palco to cut live burls to make money in the summer never hurt the tree at all in fact if you cut it right you could go back in couple years and cut it again check out the gift shops this summer…


    Wondering how much it cost the state to catch 1 redwood poacher. A few dozen employees at 85,000 a year with 20 year vested 350,000 retirement to catch 1 tweaker cutting on a stump?

    • Soon-to-be Former Supervisor Ryan Dumberg

      I wonder how much it cost the county to have two corrupt incompetent county supervisors like Ryan Sundberg and Virginia Bass (both pulling down 6-figure salaries + perks, bribes & retirement) taking up space in the supervisors chambers for the past eight years to serve the good ol’ boy network?


        All I know anymore is that it seems the overpowering liberal agenda has unlimited funding checks coming in and our state is billions bankrupt????

        • CA has money in the bank and is totally solvent; this came at the expense of many programs that should have been adequately funded and weren’t, like education. Consider getting one.

          • Such bigotry. The liberals here seem to feel that everyone not totally agreeing with their philosophy must be “uneducated.” Or at least they feel entitled to apply the term publicly to anyone who has something to say they find objectionable. Probably because the loudest voices in the education machine are the foundation of their beliefs.

            But then many people object to liberal ideas because no amount of failure or even deterioration makes them reevaluate the liberal agenda that enough money and government will fix everything. Eventually. If people survive the experiment.

            The trouble with believing institutional educators is that their ideas are created by working in an environment of having the power over people that generally need to learn something (otherwise there would be no need to have teachers) and deriving their income, not from their own success in achieving a good result but from an institution that protects them whether they fail or succeed. They develop ‘teacher’s disease’, the primary symptom of which is their firm belief they know better. If teachers were required to get their pay based on teaching that creates a productive citizen, they might be honor those who are productive more than using them as a cash cow and trying to shame everyone who won’t submit to their authority.

          • Wow Anon, just because California’s budget is balanced and has a surplus for one year, does not mean California is not in debt. That’s like being $100,000 in debt and you have a $4,000 a month budget, you get a heritance of $2,000 (or in California’s case you just increase taxes on everyone) and you’re like look I have a $2,000 Surplus. No you’re still a 100,000.00 in debt…



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