National Park Service Trees Meet Chainsaws in Montara

The National Park Service is cutting down trees in Montara, south of San Francisco. San Francisco Forest Alliance opposes this action. We’re disappointed. In this era of global warming, every tree counts. Instead of destroying trees, they should be planting them. Instead, they appear to have succumbed to the same “native” vs “non-native” xenophobic approach to plants that we’re battling in the Bay Area.

This article, with the accompanying pictures is from one of our supporters, and is used with permission.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE CHAINSAWS KILLING PENINSULA TREE

by D. Emanuel

Here we go again. This time it’s the National Park Service destroying trees in the Bay Area. They just cut down perfectly healthy Monterey cypress and pines – some 100 years old — at Rancho Corral de Tierra, which is located at the tip of Half Moon Bay. If you’ve ever hiked or ridden a horse or bike at Rancho you know there are few trees that provide shady resting spots along popular trails.

These trail-side trees are isolated and one in particular, on the Farallone trail, has been an iconic stop, where hikers take a break to enjoy scenery, grab a drink of water, and shoot the breeze. It’s been a favorite among residents of Montara, many of whom walk outdoors just steps from home as part of their daily routine. No more. Park Service chainsaw crews leveled the tree last week.

By the end of next week the Park Service will be on track to kill 40 trees because they categorize them as non-native. It doesn’t seem to matter that their birthplace is only 100 miles down the road in Monterey. Apparently that’s not local enough.

COASTSIDE RESIDENTS BLINDSIDED

The Park Service gave no warning and did not engage the community for input at Rancho. They are so strident in carrying out a preferred landscape ideology that a handful of favorite trees could not remain.

Rancho is the newest land added to the 80,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Park Service acquired it in 2011. You may remember that just one month after taking over as land manager a Park Service ranger used her taser gun to shoot a 50-year-old man in the back after he gave a false name. The ranger had stopped him for walking one of his two small terriers off-leash. He won a $50,000 judgment against the Park Service for unreasonable use of force.

Now the Park Service is now using unreasonable force against trees under the guise of biodiversity. They claim it will save a rare flower, Hickman’s potentilla, against an invading force  even though the trees have remained far apart for years, showing no sign of taking over the landscape.

The fact that the flower has peacefully co-existed with the trees for decades doesn’t matter to the Park Service. The project is part of a multi-million dollar grasslands restoration and replanting program bankrolled by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

The Park Service did not conduct an environmental assessment to justify the dramatic changes being made to the landscape and it’s refusing to disclose how much glyphosate is being sprayed.  Glyphosate, better known by the Monsanto trade name Roundup, has been declared a probable human carcinogen. California, which in July declared glyphosate to be a carcinogen, is considering requiring cancer warnings on Roundup brand labels.

The community is shocked and angry. You should be too. California lost 100 million trees due to the recent four-year drought. We can’t afford to be killing trees. Yet that’s exactly what the Park Service is doing at Rancho Corral de Tierra.

UPDATE:

Here’s a statement from GGNRA received today:

“NPS is pausing tree removal work at Rancho and is planning to offer an additional public hike in the coming weeks to discuss our planning process and the overall recovery plan for the Rancho grasslands and Hickman’s potentilla. We plan to send out an announcement to our Rancho mailing list once this date is set.”

This is a pause – not a promise to stop the cutting. We will stay in touch with you all as we move through this process to keep our voices heard.

Please enjoy the moment – your voices and help from Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s office were very important to get this temporary pause – thank you!

San Francisco – More Public Trees Destroyed

We recently received this report from a long-term member of the Fort Mason Community Garden. More trees have been destroyed, shocking those who cared about them.

More bad news about the trees we have enjoyed for many, many years. The entrance to our beautiful Fort Mason Community Garden was lined with plum trees that flowered magnificently in the Spring and then had burgundy colored leaves when the flowers dropped (see photos below). The Park Service has chopped them all down and plan to plant native stuff in their place. [Webmaster: No trees.] As most of you know, native plants remain brown most of the year so now our entry way is completely ruined, in my opinion, and those of many other garden members.

Below are before and after photos of the entry way, and then a report on how the Park Service tries to justify why they did this horrible thing. They claim that the trees were beyond their life span and beginning to die off. However, the below photo was taken this past Spring and these plum trees sure look very healthy and beautiful to many of us. None of the garden members knew anything about this until all the plum trees were chopped down — a big shock to most of us.

plumblossomsfortmason

There seems to be an epidemic of chopping down trees in this city that is contagious, and it is very sad and terrible for our environment and the esthetics of San Francisco. It is happening all over the city (200 coming down on Van Ness alone and many more in other neighborhoods). However, I was not expecting this horrible epidemic to affect the once very lovely entry to our beautiful Fort Mason Community Garden—which is a haven in the middle of a busy city.

(Signed) A Very Sad and Frustrated long-term FMCG member

ornamentalplumsgone-at-fort-mason-san-francisco-12-28-16

THE PARK SERVICE JUSTIFICATION

Plum Tree Removal at Fort Mason (SF) – Dec 2016

November 18, 2016 Posted by: GGNRA Public Affairs

GGNRA will remove the plum trees at the Fort Mason entrance and replace with drought tolerant native plants.

The tree removal will begin in December with planting to follow early in the new year.

Plans for adding the Purple Leaf Plum (Prunus cerasifera) trees were developed early in the park’s history, 1974, but following the historic period of significance. These trees typically have much less than the 42 year life span we’ve enjoyed. Within the last 5 years, the plums have begun to die back and shed limbs, indicating they are well into decline.

Removing the trees will re-establish a historic view to the Chapel along Franklin Street. Overgrown yews that flank either side of the Chapel entrance door will also be removed and replaced. The project will also remove about 7,000 sq ft of turf.

Native, drought tolerant plants are coming from our Presidio nursery, grown from local seed.

By establishing this low water plant community at the park’s headquarters entrance, we are signalling our commitment to environmental sustainability. We will also replace the irrigation system with a much more efficient model and expect to be able to stop all watering in the entry area within 5 years.

These before-and-after renderings were developed by the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation as a treatment recommendation included in the 2012 Cultural Landscape Report Volume II.

fort-mason-after-tree-removal

Before and After from NPS. (Our notation.)