Skip to main content

$5K reward to find a regional park's tree killers

Girdling is an illegal act and one that more often than not leads to the death of a tree.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

A reward is being offered to find the vandals who have killed 20 trees at the Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan.

The Dakota County Sheriff announced on Friday that $5,000 will be made available for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the damage caused to the black cherry trees earlier this month.

The trees, located in various spots around the park, were "girdled" – that's when a ring is gouged around the tree, stripping away the bark.

According to the Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike Trail on Facebook, girdling is an "illegal act" and one that more often than not leads to the death of the tree.

Here's a look at where the targeted trees are located. Many of them are in the mountain bike area.

The bike trail's initial post about the vandalism prompted a furious response from many Facebook commenters, to the point that the organization had to request for people to calm down as things were "getting a little out of hand."

"We originally posted this in hopes to help gather some intel, not start a flame war," it said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that girdling is a way of killing trees without felling them, and can be employed to kill unwanted trees or enhance wildlife habitats. It can also be used to prevent a tree encroaching onto power lines.

The 2,000 acre park in Eagan gets around 500,000 visitors each year, according to its website. Dakota County is also in the process of restoring a further 1,100 acres of prairie and forest within the park, and also planting more than 3,000 new trees and shrubs.

Anyone with information about the tree girdling should call the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office via 911, or by emailing

Next Up

Hopkins Basketball

Hopkins suffers rare loss to No. 1 ranked Sidwell Friends

The Royals held their own in a battle of the nation's best.

argue-wertman booking photos

Charges: 2 teens responsible for violent carjacking spree across Twin Cities

They face a combined 31 felony counts, all tied to carjackings and related crimes.

rep nolan west mn house

MN rep. says he was 'assaulted' at activist group's public meeting

The Republican said a man grabbed his arms and yanked him from the room.

Screen Shot 2022-01-20 at 12.56.52 PM

What were the 'bizarre things' seen in Minnesota's sky?

The mysterious streaks were not UFOs and they weren't pieces of an asteroid.

icicles, freezing weather, cold weather

Booming noises in the night could be frost quakes

The loud sounds are most likely to happen during the middle of the night.

coronavirus, coronavirus test, covid-19

Free COVID testing site to open in St. Paul for 3 weeks

The federal testing site comes as demand for testing remains high.

Reyel Simmons photo 1 - complaint - crop

MN TikToker accused of faking federal agent life pleads guilty

He told his 10,000 followers he was a Homeland Security agent — authorities say it was a lie.


Report: Vikings request second interview with 2 GM candidates

Ryan Poles of the Chiefs and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Browns.

Amaya Battle

Hopkins takes on No. 1 team in the country on ESPNU Friday

The game will feature a pair of top recruits in the Class of 2022.

st. paul federation of educators - teachers

Educators in Minneapolis, St. Paul could strike amid contract negotiations

Teachers and support staff are demanding smaller class sizes, mental health support and better pay.

turtinen two harbors

MN mayor in hot water for hawking $400M underwater hotel plan

The city council called a special meeting to discuss the mayor's public comments.


The reward to find whoever fatally shot a central MN hunter is up to $30K

Terrence Brisk was killed in Nov. and officials still don't know who's responsible.

Someone's been vandalizing trees in Dakota County

It's called girdling or ring-barking, and it kills trees.

More thieves steal birch trees in Minnesota, but why are they doing it?

Thousands of the trees have been chopped down illegally across the upper Midwest in recent months.

FBI offering $25K reward to find Wisconsin raceway killer

A man gunned down three people in broad daylight earlier this month.

What do you do when a storm brings down a tree on your property?

Cities only really help if the tree falls onto public land.

What do you do when a storm brings down a tree on your property?

Cities only really help if the tree falls onto public land.

Northern MN man accused of cutting down, stealing $3,500 worth of trees

The white-barked trees are often used in decorations.

Several trees have been vandalized in Robbinsdale

If you see someone doing this, call 911.