A restaurant owner accused of illegally chopping down redwoods on federal park property has written a letter to an Alaska representative to try to win sympathy.
In 1999, John Ward, owner of Bella Vista Restaurant, allegedly cut down seven 100-year-old trees at Golden Gate National Recreational Area to create a better view.
The request for support went to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), vice chairman of the House Resources Committee, which handles federal parkland issues.
Rep. Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) wrote their own letters last week, urging Interior Secretary Gale Norton to attack the issue with all resources necessary to punish the person responsible.
The area where the trees were cut is part of 1,200 acres purchased in 1994 by local donors and conservation groups with help from the federal government. About four acres of that land was damaged when more than a dozen trees were chopped or topped, including redwoods, madrones and tan oaks.