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Popular tree at Hollywood-sign overlook vandalized

VandalismCrimeCrime, Law and Justice

Hikers in Griffith Park were stunned this week when they discovered that an often-photographed tree at a scenic overlook near the Hollywood sign has been uprooted.

"It's been torn from its roots and tossed on its side," said David Walstad, a Studio City resident who is a frequent visitor of the park.

The 8-foot tree, a scrawny cypress, was located in an open area near the dead end of Dronda Drive beneath Mt. Lee. It was popular with tourists, who enjoyed posing next to it when photographing the sign.

Walstad, who operates a Hollywood stock photo agency called ScreenScenesPhotos, said the tree was often used by professional photographers and videographers using the famous sign as a backdrop for fashion layouts and videos.

He said he has urged Hollywood-area City Councilman Tom LaBonge to initiate an investigation into the vandalism. He said the city should find funding or seek donations to replace the uprooted tree with a fully grown replacement.

"Seeing it lying there just broke my heart," Walstad said Thursday. 

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Bob.Pool@latimes.com

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