Vandals cause damage in Fenton nature preserve - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Vandals cause damage in Fenton nature preserve

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FENTON (WJRT) -

(09/11/12) - A little known Mid-Michigan nature preserve is enjoyed by people who want a quiet walk in the woods. But others are finding it's a place where they can destroy property with little chance of being caught.

Tucked away on the northeast corner of Fenton is the Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary, 155 acres of woodland, crisscrossed with walking trails.

"A lot of people come out here and walk on the trails, take their dogs for a walk, enjoy nature for a little bit," said Katherine Hollins, Michigan Nature Association regional stewardship organizer.

Park benches are found in a number of spots. Maps on sign posts help the hiker along the way. Trail arrows guide walkers through the little bit of heaven on earth. But there's trouble in paradise. In recent months, vandals have caused a lot of damage.

Earlier this summer, a sign post was pulled out of the ground and thrown into the woods. It's been put back in place and set in concrete.

The leg from a park bench is a reminder of that someone smashed the rest of the bench to pieces.

"It's discouraging when it keeps happening over and over again," Hollins said.

In the past few weeks, a vandal used an ax to chop down a mature maple tree.

"It's just kind of wanton destruction. It felt like the straw that broke the camel's back a little bit here in terms of dealing with vandalism," Hollins said.

Those who visit the nature sanctuary say the destruction is discouraging.

"It's such a nice place. I'm assuming it's going to be kids or teenagers. You know, when they come and do that type of stuff, it leaves a bad impression," said Chuck Brandt of Fenton.

The Michigan Nature Association owns dozens of properties around the state.

"This one has more vandalism than any of our other sanctuaries," Hollins said.

Sanctuary officials hope users will report vandalism as soon as they see it. Fenton Police have been asked to patrol the two parking lots on the edge of the sanctuary. But once someone slips into the woods, it's easy to disappear.

You can contact Katherine Hollins of the Michigan Nature Association to discuss vandalism by calling 517-525-2627 or by e-mail at khollins@michigannature.org.

More information on Michigan Nature Association can by found by clicking here.

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