FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — "Save the trees" is the cry heard among some in Fayetteville, but the trees in question aren't endangered species.
They're covered in old, broken skateboards, a shrine, or honor, to fellow boarders who love the sport. They've even been featured in several skateboarding magazines and shown during a nationally televised competition.
"If you break a board, you've earned the right to hang it on the trees," said Dorian Motowylak. "To me, it's just beautiful, and the kids love it."
Motowylak says it started last August, when children started laying their "trophies" by the tree. Now, there are more than 200 pieces – so many that Motowylak has taken on the precarious job of hanging them.
"It was just something to do with all the broken boards, instead of throwing them away," Motowylak said.
But others call the site outside the Blount Street Skate Shop an eyesore and a poor reflection on downtown Fayetteville.
Now, citing a sign ordinance, the city says the boards must come down, calling them a snipe sign, an illegal posting meant to bring in business.
"They convey an advertising message, since it is a skateboarding shop and they do sell skateboards at that location," said David Steinmetz, with the Fayetteville Inspections Department.
The city's sign ordinance applies to anything affixed to a fence, pole, bridge, bench or natural object.
Skaters say the city should give them a break, saying the broken boards are part of the culture.
"I love the trees. I smile every time I drive by them," said Jed Shooter, who competes with a skate team in Raleigh.
He believes the city's objection has nothing to do with signs.
"It's another thing they're trying to take away from us to keep us from having something we're proud of," he said.
On Monday, the local Board of Adjustment sided with city inspectors, saying the skateboards must come down.
But the fight to "save the trees" continues. The skate shop is appealing the case, and this Saturday, skaters will hold a fundraiser at the shop.