The Missoula business community has come forward to replace the trees damaged or destroyed by vandals last weekend.

Director of Missoula Parks and Recreation Donna Gauckler said Thursday that several businesses and one service club have stepped forward to replace the 12 trees that were vandalized.

"Northwestern Energy has come forward with cash, $5,000, and a volunteer day," Gauckler said. "Lowe's Home Center has offered trees, Montana Ace Hardware's Fancy Plants has also offered trees, and Southside Lions has offered funds to replace the trees damaged in Southside Lions Park."

Gauckler was surprised and delighted by the offers to help from local businesses and organizations.

"It is very heartening, and I think it shows how much I think our citizens and our businesses value their community," Gauckler said. "Not only the beauty and aesthetics, but all the other benefits that the urban forest and those parks and open spaces bring to us."

Gauckler said some of the trees may be replaced this summer, but most will be replanted in the fall, when the businesses and organizations can participate.

Parks and Recreation Director Donna Gauckler