Not to excuse idiot you are referring too, but imo, the biggest problem is not the guy with axe in the park. The really sad thing is that you have to drive to a special park to be around the trees in the first place. Concrete, bulldozers, and paved strip centers full of useless Halmark and GNC stores are the real problem. My house use to be surrounded by hundreds of acres of old oak... thats OAK forest people, full of wildlife. in the last 8 years this has been torn down and burned. There are now 10 drive through banks in a 5 mile radius where 1 would serve, a 70 acre (competing) hardware store complex built on burned trees when there was already a Home Depot 2.5 miles down the road, I can get all the chemically yogurt with sprinkles I want at my choice of yogurt huts, but wildlife and trees are gone.
We call this progress, but as the song goes... "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot, they dug up all the trees and put them in a tree museum" (the park of course is a tree museum, and the OPs guy with the axe even goes there and cuts those down... Sheesh
I don't really think it's a generational probly as much as a stupid person problem every generation ether blames the previous or up coming generation for what's going. When really it's everyone's fault to a point think more of a issues is people just sitting back and watching and talking about it rather then going out and doing something about it. History has show that humans rarely learn from there mistakes
I read this thread aloud to my babies. My family is deeply grateful for all your words. They express the compassion that makes people human. And although there is some anger and frustration, there is also HOPE.
Just know, the "axe man" did face the LAW. We learned the the USFS can issue tickets and summons through the mail. All they need is a statement from the camp custodian and any evidence like a picture, and WHAMMO Federal charges. Minimum $200 fine with possible jail time. And since these folks were from (AHEM) different state, if they want a trial, will have to come back for legal action.
I felt like so conflicted about how to handle the situation.
My kids KNOW about this place, and my history with it. Now, these trees and this place is fixed in their history. And the trees are theirs, and still mine. And now they belong to each of you good people, who read this,
For a man and father, see the hurt in his children's eyes when, " just a tree" is killed, gave me such pride. I never tell my babies what to think. My wife and I agreed to give them as much information as possible, and then let them make up their own minds. In this case, while they reflected and chose their own way, I did what I do. I acted in the best way I knew that would not endanger them, but still was appropriate. I alerted the custodian, and let him do his job. He did. And afterwards, we had along family discussion about the outcome. That did not change the fact I felt bad for ruining this guy's trip. If I felt comfortable just going and talking to him, I would have done it. But nowadays people react badly when they have their transgressions pointed out to them. I constantly tell my kids do NOT DO WHAT DAD DOES. I am a grumpy old bastard who is just too stupid to know when to keep my mouth shut. Someday it will Prolly get me killed.
Finally, I am personally very proud that this thread has become more than expected. You guys made it about the "wilderness " where you live, where you walk in a forest of people, and where you survive the very real dangers of daily life. And your replies reflect compassionate active minds, and caring hearts. Bully for you!
Finally, please know, I did not mean "NEVER CHOP ANY TREE, NO MATTER WHAT." My true belief is that our "plant tribes" must be shepherded over as any flock might be. Each of us has a space that we watch over, whethe that means a yard or a park or a potted plant. And sometimes pruning or "culling" is necessary.
When I take up rifle in the Fall, it is to thin a herd that has over populater it's range. I am not enough of a "forester"to make those decisions for an entire forest. So I avoid killing a creature which has struggled for life for 10 or 20 or 30 years.
I do my part by chopping deadfall. In all my camping trips I have never had to fell a large tree. I have dropped a few sapplings where too many were bunched together and I knew they would not survive. But you have to respect the land.
Before we left our campsite, we removed and plugged all the nail and screw holes we could. We made sure all trash was removed. We left it so much better than we found it. And we left all our firewood for the LL Bean crew. (Several days worth, if used carefully )
It's pent up moron-ism. The powers that shouldn't be are chopping down big sections of forest to make room for some big box stores. Individual stupid can't hold a candle to collective stupid. God forbid you use micro aggression and ask the perp why?
In your situation I see no excuse for it because it is posted. My first thought though was reading about Nessmuck or some such from the era whipping out his hatchet and cutting down whatever he needed in the forest whether it was live or not. I might not be remembering that quite correctly though. Boy Scouts taught me to respect trees and not cut them down or carve in them unless needed. If parents don't think about teaching or it never comes up and no Boy Scouts or similar how would they know? School? But I agree with most, that they think the rules don't apply to them. I see it every day.