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Del Mar Mesa Preserve tree tunnel trails vandalized

Users of a popular Penasquitos bike trail are trying to figure out how several beloved trees got chopped down recently, where now damaged tree stumps are left behind

SAN DIEGO — It's been shocking for bike riders and hikers alike to notice these large trees and branches chopped down out of nowhere, and for them to be dwarf oaks makes it even more upsetting because those take decades to grow.

Upset that once tall trees along the "Tunnels" trail of the on the Del Mar Mesa preserve got cut down, the San Diego Mountain Biking Association wants to know who did it and why.

"It's a hack job. It's really sad because it really is irreparable harm to a very sensitive habitat,” said Susie Murphy, the executive director of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association.

Mountain bikers started to notice the tree stumps on Monday.

"I am really at a loss to understand why anyone would think they were being helpful,” Murphy said.

Murphy says the trail is an isolated, protected habitat for plants and animals that had a built it natural tree canopy that is needed for bike riders in the heat.

"A lot of places that we ride are totally sunny and have no shade, so it is such a treasured area,” Murphy said.

It's also a long hike to get there, about 1 mile from the north end and nearly 3 miles from where we were at the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Ranch house.

"Somebody had to have some intention,” Murphy said.

There was speculation that a city worker may have cut down the dwarf oak trees and branches, but the parks department says it was not.

“They do not do any of this trimming down in tunnels for sure,” Murphy said.

The San Diego Mountain Biking Association put up these signs to try to get any word on how their beloved trees mysteriously got chopped.

"Most of us who enjoy bike riding down there, kind of enjoy the tight and twisty turns and the low bridges that we have to duck under,” Murphy said.

Now without the trees, Murphy says there is a safety risk due to rugged, sharp edges exposed on the trail.

"If somebody happened to fall on that part of the trail, then they could you know fall and hurt themselves on it,” Murphy said.

Bike riders are now keeping a close eye out to make sure more of this doesn't happen again.

"We all need to tread lightly so that it is here for years to come,” Murphy said.

Anyone who saw anything or knows any information about how those trees got chopped is asked to call the City of San Diego Park Ranger Gina Washington at 858-538-8066

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