Friday, September 30, 2011

Park Rangers Get Convictions On More Plant Thieves

This morning's National Park Service Report has the story of two men convicted in Federal Court for stealing ginseng of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.

Blue Ridge Parkway
Two Men Plead Guilty To Ginseng Poaching In Separate Cases

Rangers conducting surveillance on August 27th near an area known for
ginseng poaching saw a man dressed in camouflage in the woods. The man,
identified as Brian Witherel of Fletcher, North Carolina, admitted to
digging ginseng and was found to have 21 roots in his possession. A second
surveillance operation at another site known for ginseng poaching, this one
on September 17th, led to a contact with Gregory Grycki of Asheville, North
Carolina, who had 79 ginseng roots in his possession. Both were arrested.
Last week, each man appeared before a federal magistrate and entered a
guilty plea. Witherel was sentenced to 11 days in jail and Grycki received
25 days in jail. The current price for ginseng in western North Carolina
ranges from $410 to $425 for dry ginseng and $110 for green ginseng.
Rangers also determined that Witherel had sold 16.6 pounds of dry ginseng
and 3.5 pounds of green ginseng in 2008 for an estimated return, based on
the market at the time, of over $10,000. [Tim Francis, Pisgah District

The theft of native plants from our National Parks for personal monetary gain remains a serious threat to our natural 

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