Signal Hill Petroleum is offering a $2,500 reward for the arrest and conviction of "Tree Terrorists" who have sawn through or injected poison into about ten eucalyptus trees on the north slope of Signal Hill.
"We are sickened by these horrible acts of destruction and for the loss of these beautiful trees," said Craig Barto, SHP's president. The Signal Hill Tribune reported that the trees are 30 to 40 feet tall, and two could be more than 70 years old.
The largely undeveloped north slope, sprinkled with oil pumpers, has been basically open for hikers, joggers and people walking their dogs, according to one SHP official. The City of Signal Hill and the local Sierra Club have expressed interest in purchasing the 32-acre site for a natural preserve or a park.
The costly removal of the dying trees is necessary to protect hikers. A SHP official noted that "aside from the danger to human life, the trees add beauty to the hill and their root system prevent mudslides during heavy rainfall."
The Signal Hill Police is investigating. A common-sense lead would point to the new homes on the hilltop whose views may be compromised by the trees. City Planning staff, in the past, has noted that when view properties come up for sale, their owners are particularly insistent about tree removal or topping to enhance views and thus property values. The police would be wise to pursue this line of thinking in their investigations.
Here are a few more pictures. The damaged trees have been identified with a red ribbon.