Plant Theft in Public Parks Illegal in Hillsborough

Friday, March 17, 2023
Image looking downward from Eno River Parking Deck on downtown entrance to Riverwalk.
Downtown entrance to Riverwalk

Are you seeing green today? We want to make sure you keep seeing it along the town’s trails and parks.

The Town of Hillsborough reminds all residents and visitors that removing structures, equipment, or real and personal property located within town parks or belonging to the town is illegal according to town ordinance. Section 3-49 (2) of the Hillsborough Code of Ordinances forbids the removal of town property from parks owned by the town. This ordinance covers not only structures and equipment, but also items from the natural environment, including plants.

“We are working hard to preserve and improve the town’s natural spaces and systems,” Public Space Manager Stephanie Trueblood said. “Taking plants is a crime and damages the ecosystem. Please help us protect our parks and public spaces by reporting suspicious activity.”

Only town employees, contracted workers and volunteers have approval to dig in town parks or along town trails for repairs and improvement work associated with the town. The town does not give permission on its lands for prospecting, or the use of metal detectors. Theft of any town property valued at $1,000 or less is considered a misdemeanor larceny. Theft of property valued over that amount is a felony.

If you witness any digging or theft in public parks and trails, report the incident by calling 911.

Any questions or concerns may be directed to Public Space and Sustainability Manager Stephanie Trueblood by email or calling 919-296-9481. In addition, contact Trueblood if you would like to participate in volunteer workdays. Participants at these workdays sometimes share plants with each other.

Related documents

Document Town Ordinance Section 3-49