ROXBURY, NJ – Trees lining the picturesque Memory Lane path at Horseshoe Lake Park were recently defaced with black paint, markings that are likely to remain because removing them could do more harm than good, according to officials.

The glossy, black squares and rectangles were painted on eight cherry trees on both sides of the dirt walkway that features plaques in memory of deceased Roxbury residents. The trees that were painted lie between the Succasunna park’s fishing area parking lot and the fairgrounds parking lot.

Roxbury Public Works Director Rick Blood, who has been away on vacation all week, said he was made aware of the situation via social media. “Somebody Facebooked me a couple days ago,” Blood said Friday. “Nobody in the township did it. We can’t think of a rhyme or reason why it was done.”

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The black boxes could be related to a “Black Box Tuesday” campaign on Facebook, Instagram and other social media wherein people posted black boxes as signs of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Blood said he'd not heard of the campaign.

“We’re considering it vandalism,” he said. “But anything we do to remove it is going to hurt the trees. To wire brush the trunk of a tree to take it off would not be a good thing.”

He said the township’s only option, other than doing nothing, is to cover the black paint with paint that more closely matches the cherry tree bark.

The township has been replacing with new cherry trees the trees along the path that "die off," Blood said. "In this specific area, I don't think they have been replaced."

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