Mountain biker accused of cutting down trees in Rancho Penasquit - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mountain biker accused of cutting down trees in Rancho Penasquitos

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — People living in the Rancho Penasquitos area are upset with a mountain biker they say is cutting down trees.

Now, a search is underway to find the man responsible for the vandalism.

Members of the San Diego Mountain Bike Association were shocked to see a beloved trail was missing key features.

"This is one of the two that were removed. The other one has flat out disappeared," said Matthew Bartelt of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association. "They are actually speed checks that help keep the riders' speed levels down to reasonable levels. The line of sight through most of the area is 30, 40 feet at a time and someone traveling at a high rate of speed might not be able to see and react to somebody who was around the corner."

A member of the group posted a video online they say depicts the man responsible for cutting down the trees and clearing the trail. A saw can be seen in his hand.

The member who posted it gave News 8 permission to use the video.

"It was pretty shocking I'll say and once the pictures and video came out on Facebook, everyone was really upset," said Susie Murphy of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association.

The association mobilized a group of volunteers to repair some of the damage.

It's impossible to replace the trees that were removed, but they could save surrounding plants in jeopardy.

The group gave News 8 permission to use pictures of what remained of the trees.

"Most of the trees that were cut, rather than disposed of properly, were just piled upon other living plants," said Bartelt. "That would have killed them, so we mobilized and basically chopped up, cut or otherwise removed the plant life to a more manageable thing."

City rangers consider the damage vandalism and the person responsible could face charges or citation if caught in the act by a ranger.

City of San Diego Senior Park Ranger Gina Washington told News 8 in a statement:

While the City appreciates the intentions and efforts of the public to try and improve park trails, the reality is those unauthorized actions may be potentially harmful to projects and initiatives that have taken years of planning, community input and environmental studies to implement.

"I think, maybe, he was trying to help by taking things into his own hands," said Murphy. "But ignorance of what has been done in trying to preserve, is really not an excuse."

The City encourages anyone concerned about trail obstacles to notify a ranger.

Parks and Recreation also hosts "clearing days," if you would like to volunteer, click here.

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