New York State Park Police and the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve recently took to Facebook to share news of a crime they called an "egregious violation of the Preserve's ecological integrity".

Pictures from the top of Breakneck Ridge left local residents stunned as well, with everyone from rangers and police to hikers and nature enthusiasts searching for answers.

A tree on Breakneck Ridge in the Hudson Valley, NY was illegally cut down. A police report has been filed
A tree on Breakneck Ridge in the Hudson Valley, NY was illegally cut down. A police report has been filed (HHSPP via Facebook)
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"Egregious" Act On Top of Breakneck Ridge in the Hudson Valley, NY

"On Wednesday, November 15th Park staff were informed that one of our favorite Cedar trees had been illegally cut down and taken from the top of Breakneck Ridge" began the recent post from the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve (HHSPP). The tree felling was against the law, but it was a blow to the local ecosystem as well. From the HHSPP:

Not only is this damage to public property but it is also an egregious violation of the Preserve's ecological integrity, as Eastern Red Cedar is an indicator species for Rocky Cedar Summit Habitat, an ecosystem found only on the very tops of our Hudson Highland Ridge

Eastern Red Cedar on top of Breakneck Ridge before it was illegally cut down. A report has been filed with New York police
Eastern Red Cedar on top of Breakneck Ridge before it was illegally cut down. A report has been filed with New York police (HHSPP via Facebook)
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Pattern of Destructive Behavior?

The incident, which was reported to police, was eerily reminiscent of the famed 200-year-old tree that was cut down in the middle of the night by a teenaged vandal in Great Britain. While Breakneck Ridge's cedar did not have the same international recognition as the UK's beloved sycamore, it garnered a similar (albeit local) reaction.

Local residents were shocked to learn of the tree that was illegally cut down on Breakneck Ridge in New York
Local residents were shocked to learn of the tree that was illegally cut down on Breakneck Ridge (HHSPP via Facebook)
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The Hudson Valley, NY Reacts to Illegal Tree Cutting on Breakneck Ridge

"This is horrible", lamented one commenter. "I can't even conceive of the motivation behind this behavior". "Is it at all possible in the spring to remove the old tree and plant a new and mature Eastern Red Cedar in its place? If so, I will happily donate to such a cause", offered another.

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The outpouring of emotion from Hudson Valley residents show exactly how special local parks are to (most of) the community. Check out some of the best trails to explore below, and remember: leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures.

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