MAINE - With maple season upon us, Forest Rangers are finding an increasing number of illegal maple taps around the pine tree state. And as our Kristin Hosfelt reports, it's become problematic for private landowners.
"We're not seeing small trespassing," says Forest Ranger, Thomas Liba, "we're seeing large scale- thirty, forty, fifty, sometimes more- taps per area."
Forest Rangers are finding a growing number of illegal taps on private property.
"Some (landowners) are very distraught, that's trespassing, that's coming on to their piece of land, and causing damage to their land."
Forest Rangers say one of the biggest issues is that this is a silent crime, so often times land owners who use their trees for lumber, won't realize the damage until it's already done.
"It happens about now, you have a window of 4 to 6 weeks for sugaring, and then maybe a year or two down the road- maybe even longer- landowner decides to harvest their land, the wood gets to the mill and suddenly their receiving less for their wood than what they initially thought."
The first log is the most valuable, and because taps are at the base of the tree, it ruins the most lucrative piece.
"These tap holes eventually grow over, and it creates a stain up and down the tree."
Rangers say if you're tapping illegally, you face penalties from $250 dollar fines to jail time.