CAMDEN – Select Board Vice Chair Alison McKellar wants to know who cut the tree limbs down by the waterfall along the public landing.

“It’s a bit of a whodunit at this point,” said Town Manager Audra Caler.

In the past week, according to downtown merchants and McKellar, several large limbs and a few small trees on town land in the shore land zone were removed. The trees cut are near the picnic tables and the buildings that include local businesses such as Jo Ellen Designs and Lily Lupine & Fern.

The result received mixed reviews, with some merchants saying it improves the view of the fall, but town officials says it looks like the work of amateurs.

Debris from the tree cutting at the falls in Camden. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Caler said she checked to find out if any town government entity such as Public Works or the Parks and Recreation Department did the cutting. She said she was glad to find out they did not, because the work was “poorly done.”

She also described the trees as “hacked up.”

McKellar said it used to be beautiful, the way the limbs extended out over the water. She said the cutting was “really bold.”

Debris including branches could be seen down by the falls along with what appear to be very fresh cuts to the trees (see photos).

Camden town officials are investigating what happened to these trees. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Both McKellar and Caler compared the situation to the recent Atlantic Ave. settlement.

The Select Board approved a consent agreement Sept. 7 that included fines and mandates of restoration from the owners of 22 Atlantic Ave., for trespassing on town property, cutting trees, grading soil and installing drainage outflow.

Even though a person owns property along the shore, they can face consequences for doing work that falls into the shore land zone that is not part of that property. Residents should check with the Town Office before undertaking such work.

“We are taking it seriously,” Caler said.

“I thought the town did it,” said Jo Ellen of Jo Ellen Designs. “It looks so much better.”

“Over the years CMP came annually to trim trees away from the electrical wires. That’s my guess,” said Lee Montgomery on Facebook.

Caler said it was not CMP, adding that the company is good about informing the town when it does work and that it does not cut down trees for no reason.

Tom Rothwell at the Camden Deli said he did not know anything about it.

The Code Enforcement office will look into potential violations.