Groups claim trees along Milwaukee River are being cut down illegally

Trees along the scenic Milwaukee River are disappearing. They are being cut down illegally, according to the groups that work to keep the river clean.

TODAY'S TMJ4 crews spotted trees that had been freshly cut along the river in Kern Park. The clean cuts were obviously made by a saw, according to Aaron Zeleske of the River Revitalization Foundation.

"It's harmful because if you don't know what you are doing, you don't know what you are cutting. It could be really valuable plants and species for our wildlife, as well as the scenic value," Zeleske said. "If you start de-vegetating areas and taking out plants, the storm water runoff takes dirt and sediment right into the river and that's bad for our water quality."

Zeleske says mountain bikers may be to blame.

"That's kind of the rumor, and the feeling that a lot of us that have been involved in this work for years have. The people that want to see more trails built," said Zeleske.

For the most part, mountain biking is not allowed in county parks. Signs are placed at the entrance to many trails. If you see someone cutting trees, you are asked to call the local authorities or the Milwaukee River Revitalization Foundation at 414-271-8000.           

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