Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Protecting aboretal assets

Cities seem to often have trouble taking care of their trees. The Stockton Record has documented that city's often dying and disregarded foliage, and now a few of Tracy's green sentinels are set for a date with city chainsaws.

This story in the Press stems from a city of Tracy press release. Nearly 30 leafy 50-year-old trees are set to be removed because they present a safety hazard near the Tracy Ballpark — according to the city, several trees have dropped branches or have just plain fallen already.

There's no disputing that the trees pose a hazard and should probably be removed. Rather, the protest to make is about whose responsibility it was to take care of the trees in the first place.

The city's press release seems to blame crews from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for trimming the trees from utility lines in an "unbalanced" fashion. I'm wary to take the claim at face value, but I've seen what utility crews consider "trimming" in my parents' backyard in Stockton. I can tell you, aesthetics and tree health aren't their top priorities.

So it's likely that poor trimming jobs have a little or a lot to do with the trees' pending fate. But if the trees are on city property, and if the city cared about protecting its aboretal assets, it's the city's job to make sure the trees were pruned in a responsible manner. (Please, note the conjecture.)

Some might call this conversation overblown. I say it's a conversation worth having. Trees don't just make a city pretty, they help cool it down in the summer and provide their surroundings with a literal breath of fresh air.

We need more trees, not less of them. And protecting them should be more than a last-minute afterthought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right on Jon... seems that:

1 - The City didn't maintain the trees
2 - PG&E didn't do the job right
3 - Safety concerns?

But... NO safety concerns on the Ellis/Airport/Pipelines scenario, that's okay