Forest Service seeks information about stolen cedar planks for trail project

Dan Moller Trail

A happy dog enjoys a walk along Dan Moller Trail. U.S. Forest Service officials are asking for the public’s help in finding stolen lumber to be used in a plank replacement project this month. (Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO)

The U.S. Forest Service is asking for the public’s help in solving the mystery of the stolen cedar planks.

In March, the Forest Service and Juneau Snowmobile Club stashed five caches of rough cut, yellow cedar along Douglas Island’s Dan Moller Trail. The lumber was to be used for a plank replacement project starting this month.

But when crews went to retrieve the wood, Forest Service Recreation Program Manager Ed Grossman says planks had been stolen from three of the five caches.

“It was special order product out of Icy Straits Lumber, expensive, naturally rot resistant and not easy to replace,” Grossman says. “And we’re just saddened by it, because it’s obvious what it was for.”

Grossman says about a dozen planks are missing, each one about 12 feet long and weighing between 40 and 70 pounds. He thinks whoever stole them must’ve done so before the snow melted, using snowmobiles.

He says the Forest Service would like to hear from anyone with information about the thefts.

“Old growth yellow cedar is nice stuff. You could plane it to make various woodworking products around your home, or use it for decking or something along those lines,” he says. “So, it should be something that would standout, especially that hauling of it out of there.”

The stolen lumber has an estimated value of $527.

Grossman says part of the plank replacement project will be delayed until next summer. And he says instead of using snowmobiles to transport the materials, the Forest Service is likely to commission a helicopter, which is more expensive.

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