The logs stacked up last year. The two in the middle were the ones stolen. Photos: Robert Vogt.

Sometime in the last couple of weeks – likely even more recently than that – a crew of thieves cut the locks on two different gates inside the McKay Community Forest, drove in with a truck and probably some sort of specialized loading gear, and loaded up two large old-growth redwood logs that had been parked on a side road within the future community park.

The theft was discovered by Bob Vogt, an environmental analyst with the county’s public works department, when he was on his rounds of the forest this morning.

“It was a gut-punch,” Vogt told the Outpost today.

Vogt estimated the logs were between three and four feet in diameter and approximately 18 feet long. Each of them must have weighed at least a ton. While he couldn’t say offhand exactly what they would be worth on the lumber black market, Vogt said that it must amount to at least a few thousand dollars.

More than that, though, they held historical value. The logs were found buried in the forest underneath an old train right-of-way last year. Likely they were used as landfill. Eight logs had been uncovered in the find, and Vogt had tucked them away with hopes of using them, in some fashion or another, when the forest is fully opened. Perhaps they could have been fashioned into benches or railings, he said, or else displayed as artifacts, illustrating logging practices of the time.

The thieves took the two roundest, most well preserved of the eight logs, and Vogt is sure that they must have planned it out well in advance. Logs that large can’t be simply lifted onto the back of a pickup. Vogt believes that the thieves must have planned this out well in advance, and must brought in a hydraulic lifter or something similar to load them onto a vehicle.

Vogt is hoping that someone in the public might have seen something that would lead to the recovery of the logs, and/or the prosecution of the thieves.

“It takes a lot of special equipment to load and unload these things,” Vogt said. “Someone will know something, or will have seen something around – a truck with the logs on them, something. Whether or not they drop a dime … who knows.”

The logs were stacked behind the Harris Street entrance into the McKay Community Forest, down by Redwood Acres. A report has been filed with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. If you have any that might help them track down the thieves call the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251, or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539. The case number is 2022-02629.

The same log pile today.