Climbers know trees and branches can snag their ropes, but apparently not all climbers know that you're not supposed to cut down trees in national parks to improve your line without first seeking permission.
That seems to have been what happened at Acadia National Park, where officials are looking for those responsible for felling trees near the Precipice Trail on Champlain Mountain.
“We have an idea that some peope have taken it upon themselves to cut trees to improve, at least in their view, climbing routes on that face over there," Acadia Superintendent Sheridan Steele said Tuesday. "It’s unfortunate that they didn’t come to us and work with us, because the resulting damage is something that we try to avoid.”
About five trees were completely cut down while another eight had limbs sawn off near an area known as South Wall, where climbing is permitted.
Exactly when the cutting was done is hard to say. Acadia's roads have not yet opened for the spring, and from the parking area for the Precipice Trail it's about a half-mile hike to reach the area where the tree trimming was done, the superintendent said.
Still, he added, "the cuts look pretty fresh."
While Superintendent Steele couldn't say with 100 percent certainty that climbers were behind the cutting, he couldn't think of anyone else who would do it.
“We’re thinking that that’s the most likely explation. Why else would anybody cut trees in the park?" he said. "Since that’s a climbing area, it would seem like they were trying to expand their climbing opportunities.”
Ed Pontbriand, who oversees the park's law enforcement staff, told the Bangor Daily News that the fine for cutting down trees in the park is $100, though a judge could levy a stiffer fine and tack on a jail sentence.
If you have knowledge of who cut down the trees, you can contact park rangers at Rangers 207-288-8791.