Glenwood considers tree protection
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Deborah Hord said she’d chain herself to a tree and lie down in front of trucks to protest tree removal.
Her passion seems to have paid off, as city officials said Tuesday night they would look into drafting an ordinance to protect trees. Currently, the city has no authority over tree removal on private properties.
“I’m here requesting or trying to make people see that we need to implement laws to protect our trees,” Hord told the City Council Thursday night. “I know that we are a tree city and to not have any laws to protect our trees – what does that say? I’m still pretty upset because it’s torn up the riparian and the wildlife. It’s destroyed pretty much everything there.”
Hord was referring to the recent cutting of dozens of trees along about a half-mile of the bank of the Roaring Fork River at the River Meadows Mobile Home Park. She and others said it was unnecessary, destroyed wildlife habitat, came with little notice and damaged residents’ landscaping and decking.
Karen Price, the manager of the park, said the trees were diseased and had to be removed for safety. She believes Hord was just overreacting.
But City Council members, who heard from residents, said cutting down the healthy trees was unnecessary.
Mayor Bruce Christensen said the council has received calls from a lot of the park’s residents who said it “truly does seem like unnecessary destruction.” Some residents also reported property damage.
“I’m strongly in favor of looking into some sort of a tree ordinance,” said Councilman Russ Arensman. “I just think it’s a tragedy what’s happened down at the River Meadows trailer park in terms of cutting dozens if not hundreds of trees down there that did not need to be cut.”
Removing the trees only destabilizes the river banks, he added.
“It was totally unnecessary and it’s a perfect illustration of why we need to address preservation of our trees,” he said.
Council member Shelley Kaup said she supports directing staff to explore a tree-protection ordinance, but Councilman Dave Merritt expressed concerns about treading on property owners’ rights.
“I would want to go gingerly on this,” he said.
After 23 years, he said, he’s had to cut a number of dead aspen trees down at his property.
“I would hate to have to get (parks superintendent) Al Laurette out there each time to say, “Yep, that tree is dead.'”
Christensen said, “I think we’re not asking that we have the tree police formed. But the devastation and the ruination of cutting large numbers of trees that were healthy is something that I hope we’re not going to see again.”
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