"I went down yesterday (Monday) to take some pictures of the quarry and there were...large piles of trees and brush," he said. McDonough said he and his family were home over the weekend, but they did not hear or see anyone clearing the area. "All of the trees were freshly cut, white wood. They cut a path up to these marble blocks," he said.
McDonough said some of the trees and brush were in piles but some had also been thrown off the ledge and into the quarry. He said the area cleared was not accessible before because it was dangerous.
Now that the land has been cleared, McDonough is worried about the marble blocks in the cleared area.
"These blocks weigh a few tons, and we've had slides before," he said. "By doing this, they've made the area more dangerous than it used to be." McDonough is going to continue to monitor the area for incidents such as rockslides. He said he wants to make sure no one gets hurt.
All together, a few hundred trees were cut down, but McDonough can't be sure how many were lost because some are also underwater or on the ledge in the quarry.
"The total distance [of trees cut down] is close to 100 yards," McDonough said. "It wraps up and around the quarry."
Earlier this year, McDonough added a parking area to accommodate residents coming to the quarry. Parking along Route 30 and Black Rock road has been a point of contention for residents living in the area. Some were concerned visitors to the quarry were blocking the road and potentially blocking emergency response vehicles.
"I expended a considerable amount of my own money to put the parking in...to get this kind of treatment..." he said.
Under Vermont Statute 3602, the unlawful cutting of trees on private property without the owner's consent can result in monetary fines decided by the size of the tree stump. For a tree measuring no more than six inches or smaller in diameter, the fine is $25. However, for larger trees, the fine can range anywhere from $150 a tree to $1,500.
After McDonough discovered the trees had been cut down, he contacted the Vermont State Police, Shaftsbury Barracks.
McDonough said a trooper came and observed the scene. A police report was filed, but has yet to be obtained. According to the Vermont State Police, Shaftsbury Barracks, the officer has 30 days to file the police report.
"We went around and walked the area...[and the trooper] commented on how expansive the area [cut down] was," he said.
While on the property, the state trooper told McDonough to post more signs, informing visitors they are on private property.
"When you come into the area, there are signs immediately in front of you, letting you know what you can do on the land," he said. "You can't possibly go in and not know it's private property."
McDonough said he hopes to find out who removed the trees and that more are not cut down, especially closer to his home. He has created a kind of buffer area, to keep his home private from the quarry visitors.