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Cal Fire to cull trees at Annadel State Park

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A portion of Annadel State Park will get a New Year’s makeover that will improve park aesthetics and enhance the scenery.

Beginning Thursday, Jan. 2, and lasting through the month, Cal Fire crews, under the direction of California State Parks, will fell standing dead Douglas fir trees. The park will remain open during the project which will take place in discontinuous locations totaling less than 8 percent of the 5,000-plus acre park. The fir trees are remnants from an oak woodland restoration effort initiated more than two decades ago.

The restoration project was driven by a University of California Berkeley study that found that without frequent fires or manual control, Annadel’s prime northern oak woodlands would slowly be overtopped by invading fir trees and be eliminated.

Over the years, many dead firs found in the project area have broken apart and fallen on their own but large numbers still remain standing. The goal is to cut down up to 90 percent of these trees. The best snags will be kept for wildlife habitat and to benefit animals such as the large and colorful pileated woodpecker.

Once cut, most of the firs will be left in place so that natural decomposition can occur and the impact from dragging trees through the understory of the oak woodlands to roads is minimized.

Maintenance of the park’s oak woodlands is ongoing. For example, in order to prevent the accumulation of large fir trees that triggered the initial need for an oak woodland restoration project, California State Parks directs crews to remove fir seedlings and saplings from the understory of oak trees.