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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

December 14, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Year in prison for man who stole trees from Olympic National Forest

A Jefferson County man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to one year in prison for stealing trees from Olympic National Forest.

Reid Johnston, 41, of Brinnon, pleaded guilty in September to damaging timber in the forest during tree thefts that occurred between May 2009 and January 2010.  The timber was the property of the U.S. Forest Service.

Johnston sold some portion of the timber cut to various buyers on the Olympic Peninsula and elsewhere, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  The market value of the trees was more than $70,000.

A restitution hearing in January will determine the amount Johnston will have to pay for the theft.

According to records in the case, the trees were cut on Forest Service land in the Rocky Brook area of the Olympic National Forest.  At the time of the tree cutting, Johnston’s parents owned property near the theft locations.

The Forest Service says one of the trees cut down was a Douglas fir about 8 feet in diameter and estimated to be more than 300 years old.

Some of the maple trees he cut down were cut into blocks and sold for the production of musical instruments, such as cellos and guitars.

Comments | More in Environment, The Blotter | Topics: Olympic National Forest, tree thefts, U.S. Attorney's Office

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