<strong>By Tom Rusert and Darren Peterie</strong>
We just read the Index-Tribune’s Jan. 28, front-page article on removing the trees along Highway 12. This type of urgency and surprise has been a long standing pattern of Caltrans and their duped victims. Thanks to Susan Gorin for her comments about cutting and replacing trees, and consideration for the bird nesting season, which is already underway for some species. There are laws addressing this that Caltrans and others have a tendency to disregard unless people speak up.
Why are tree related “safety issues” suddenly prioritized as urgent in early spring for this Highway 12 project? It is as if the trees were not there in the winter when clearly less harm would be done to birds and the natural surroundings.
Removing 31 trees (including 20 oaks) is a major natural disruption that could take many weeks to finish in this very busy Highway 12 corridor – certainly all of February and some of March. We are surprised these communities did not wake up to important oak trees already removed that could have been thoughtfully saved. This will happen.
People are well aware that sidewalks can be carefully installed around some trees that we really want to save, but it is much easier to simply cut them all down.