Glen Canyon with Stairs and Coyote

This is one of our “park visitor” series – first person accounts of our parks, published with permission.

Escher's_Relativity

Source: Wikipedia (fair use)

It was dusk when I climbed down into Glen Canyon from the Christopher Playground. It’s been some months since I visited it last, and I was saddened by the changes stemming from SF Recreation and Parks “trails” project.

All the hillside trails have been made into staircases.  It reminded me of a drawing by Escher: they’re nearly as as difficult to walk. The risers of the box steps are high and the pitch not suited to everyone. Tiring and hard on the knees, and so it will effectively restrict access to many people.

COYOTE…

But then a coyote came out of the bushes. I was delighted, though not surprised.  Coyotes inhabit most of the city now, and the park has coyote-spotting signs up at the Christopher playground. But what followed was a surprise (to me, anyway!)

The park is surrounded by urban areas, and an emergency vehicle was racing by on the street above, siren wailing. “Watch,” said my companion. “He’s going to howl with the siren.” And sure enough – the little coyote raised his muzzle to the sky, gave a few barks, and then howled along with the siren.

I managed to get a blurry photograph. coyote howlingA few dogs from nearby homes responded with a woof or two, but they weren’t serious. The siren-coyote duet continued until the vehicle raced away and the sound faded. The coyote sat down, convinced, I thought, that it had told off the intruder into its territory and announced who really occupied this space.

The dusk deepened, and this magical moment was broken by  flights of mosquitoes. I’ve been to Glen Canyon many times over many years, and these are a new thing for me. Wonder if it’s anything to do with the Islais Creek – and the felling of the bat trees.

Update – “Unsuitable” tree removals on Creekside Trail, Glen Canyon Park

On October 24th we reported the planned tree removals along the Creekside Trial (west side of Islais Creek) in Glen Canyon. We are now submitting aftermath photos: the conditions now, after the Glen Canyon Trails project “tree work”.

Background: HORT Science, recipient of Park Bond funding, is used by the Rec and Park Park dept to assess the suitability of  trees located along the proposed trails. Their September 6, 20013 report for Glen Canyon Park is here. In summary they recommended that 30 trees be removed: 26 blue gums, 2 arroyo willows and one each of yellow willow and Monterey cypress. Ten (10) trees were identified as needing to be pruned including 6 arroyo willow, 2 blue gum, one Monterey cypress and one river red gum.

Trails are temporarily closed during the tree cutting

Trails are temporarily closed during the tree cutting

Park and Rec is calling this “…completing hazardous tree mitigation work”  but does not address how these trees could be saved by re-rerouting or narrowing trails, thinning the crowns, pruning and tipping, weight redistribution, limb removal, and cabling or bracing.

Cut stump along Creekside Trail

Cut stump along Creekside Trail

Even healthy eucalyptus trees are rated negatively by HORT and RPD as unsuitable for preservation merely because they are not native and therefore considered invasive.

tree workers cut limb by limb

tree workers cut limb by limb

cut limbs are tied and lowered to the ground

cut limbs are tied and lowered to the ground

Cut Stump along trail to Glenridge Co-Op Nursery School

Cut Stump along trail to Glenridge Co-Op Nursery School

Banana Slug Way - as this trail is known - will be transformed

Banana Slug Way – as this trail is known – will be transformed

A retaining wall is planned along here (steel posts,and wood planks)

A retaining wall is planned along here (steel posts,and wood planks)

A crane was used on Alms Road, (Tuesday, October 29) to take out a tree that had the misfortune of growing in the middle of Islais Creek.  A Blue gum, trunk diameter 50 inches, was deemed a potential hazard (said HORT: “Center of creek. Stands alone. Leaning & bowed E. over Alms Road.” ).

Replacing trees with concrete retaining walls to make a natural area more natural?

Eucalyptus Stump - middle of Islais Creek (did it impeded the flow of creek water? )

Eucalyptus Stump – middle of Islais Creek (did it impeded the flow of creek water? )

A 50 inch diameter Eucalyptus - likely one of the older trees in Glen Canyon Park

A 50 inch diameter Eucalyptus – likely one of the older trees in Glen Canyon Park

Mature trees absorb carbon and make our air cleaner. Dead ones release carbon and add to green house gases. 

Once trees, now logs (easy removal via Alms Road)

Once trees, now logs (easy removal via Alms Road)

Fallen Euchs near Silver Tree day camp

Fallen Euchs near Silver Tree day camp

Some of HORT’s reasons for the decisions to remove selected trees: “poor form & structure”;  “Sharp lean E. over trail”;  “upright but one-sided towards trail”;  “Leans over trail”;  “cracked branches”.

Let’s repair these trees rather than destroy them. It would cost less money and be better for the environment.

"poor form & structure"

“poor form & structure”

"Sharp lean E. over trail"

“Sharp lean E. over trail”

"upright but one-sided towards trail"

“upright but one-sided towards trail”

Ugly stumps left to remind us of how well are Park Bond dollars are being used to destroy our parks.

"Leans over trail"

“Leans over trail”

"cracked branches"

“cracked branches”

Per community requests, Rec and Park will allow the “Ticket Tree” to be a stump. This is a Monterey Cypress stump just west of the trail from the Rec Center to Silver Tree Day camp. They have cut it off higher than just a stump to accommodate popular children’s play with the slot in the tree; children use it as a mail box to deliver
letters to each other.

Are our children being taught by RPD that the best tree is a dead stump?

Ticket Tree before cutting

Ticket Tree before cutting

We did notice a larger than usual cutting of trees near the ball field.  This is how it looked before the recent cuts:

Prior view:  from small ball field

Prior view: from small ball field

And how it looks now.

Current view; from small ball field

Current view; from small ball field

View from Bosworth Street (cuts made for a paved walkway down to field)

View from Bosworth Street (cuts made for a paved walkway down to field)

The city’s Rec and Park Department is “excited to be starting this extensive capital improvement project, funded by the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond and by multiple Habitat Conservation Program grants.”

We, however, are less excited when we observe the tree damage to what was a wonderful, quirky trail on west side of Islais Creek in Glen Canyon Park.

Note that the 2008 parks bond allocated $900,000 of the $5 million Parks Trails Improvement Program
for this Glen Canyon project.  That’s alot of money for ADA compliant pathways, ‘turnpike’ parkways, retaining walls, split rail fences – from Bosworth St, all the way up to Portloa Drive, past the School of the Arts (SOTA).

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Note: Photographs were taken recently, all are accredited to Ron Proctor.

Planned tree removals on Glenridge trail, Glen Canyon Park

Planned tree removals (between 31 and 33) were announced by SF Park & Rec on August 16th. As part of the Glen Canyon Trail Restoration project trails will be restored, at the expense of trees along the Glenridge trail. Tree work will begin after September 16th.

Here are pictures of some of the trees that have been marked for removal (do not expect that these trees will merely be pruned).

Notice posted on more than 30 trees

Notice posted on more than 30 trees

Octopus Tree along Glenridge trail

Octopus Tree along Glenridge trail

Along Glenridge trail

Along Glenridge trail

Glenridge trail, heading south

Glenridge trail, heading south

Marked tree, leans away from trail

Marked tree, leans away from trail

Looking north to Glenridge preschool

Looking north to Glenridge preschool

Pair of trees, marked for destruction

Pair of trees, marked for destruction

Marked trees along upper trail

Marked trees along upper trail

Marked trees on upper trail

Marked trees on upper trail

The City is saying they have made and will continue to make every effort to prune trees rather than remove them if they can do that to mitigate the safety hazard to park users.