The owner of a Dane County cherry orchard is offering a reward for information on who cut down over 600 of its cherry tree saplings.
Seaquist Orchards is a well-known cherry destination in northern Door County, a county where cherries are a major crop and a draw for tourists. Sometime around a week ago, someone lopped down 630 Montmorency cherry saplings that were planted in April.
Orchard owner Jim Seaquist says it amounts to about $20,000 in damage. His family company grows about 1,000 acres of trees.
“They cut between five to six acres of trees down,” says Seaquist. “So in the total picture it is not huge, but when you go look at it, it looks pretty huge.”
Seaquist says the vandalism will set that portion of the orchard back at least one year in terms of production. The Seaquist family is offering a thousand dollars for information and the Door County Sheriff's office is offering an additional thousand.
Seaquist says other business owners are offering to chip in. That's something the family is reluctant to accept, but is willing to consider. “A lot of those community members are saying, 'We're not necessarily doing this for you, we're doing this for our community – to show that we're not going to tolerate this."”
Seaquist says authorities have some leads. The orchard is situated in an agricultural area and he says it does not have valuable waterfront views of Green Bay.