UW Today

December 13, 2011

Campus trees not available as holiday decorations

UW Arborist Sara Shores reports that people have been cutting trees and tree limbs on campus, presumably for Christmas decorations. For those people, she has one message: Dont.

“A Washington state law states that if you steal a tree or tree limbs you can be penalized three times the assessed amount of the damaged tree,” Shores said.  “Many of the trees damaged would assess at more than $1,000, meaning the fine could be $3,000 or more.”

Here is the actual language from the law:

“Whenever any person shall cut down, girdle, or otherwise injure, or carry off any tree, including a Christmas tree as defined in *RCW 76.48.020, timber, or shrub on the land of another person, or on the street or highway in front of any person’s house, city or town lot, or cultivated grounds, or on the commons or public grounds of any city or town, or on the street or highway in front thereof, without lawful authority, in an action by the person, city, or town against the person committing the trespasses or any of them, any judgment for the plaintiff shall be for treble the amount of damages claimed or assessed.”

The trees are one of the things that make the UW campus beautiful, and Shores hopes people will leave them alone for others to enjoy.