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Parts of US West bar tree-cutting on private land

 
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Rob
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 11:31 am    Post subject: Parts of US West bar tree-cutting on private land Reply with quote

from:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060727/us_nm/environment_trees_dc

I'm sure I'm breaking copyright laws by cutting and pasting this...

Quote:
SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - In a state where pine and fir outnumber residents, the loss of several privately owned spruces should hardly excite attention, let alone spark a crusade emblematic of a new trend to protect trees on private land.

But in the ski community of Ketchum, Idaho, a seasonal home for the rich and famous and the last resting place of writer Ernest Hemingway, a developer's plan to cut down three towering conifers on his property spurred the city to issue an emergency order last month outlawing the felling of mature trees.

Resident Lara Babalis wanted additional assurances. She spent days collecting signatures on a petition to save the spruces and engaged in an extended vigil beneath the trees in the hours before the cutting ban was to go into effect.

When Babalis interrupted her trespassing vigil to walk her dogs, a construction worker delivered a deathblow to the 80-year-old evergreens. "A guy with a chain saw showed up the minute I took a break. By the time I came back, they were dying," she said.

Just two weeks before, the neighboring town of Hailey called a halt to the injury or destruction of large trees after a property owner in the business district chopped down five of his century-old evergreens.

These resort towns are the latest among a growing number of communities from Idaho to California seeking to protect their dwindling natural canopies by placing restrictions on the cutting of trees on private land.

The policies -- which do not apply to timber harvesting on private tree farms or federal lands -- are being imposed amid debates over future growth in exclusive enclaves such as Ketchum and Hailey, which are hemmed in by public lands and where developers seek to fill entire lots with structures.

ECOLOGY VS. PROPERTY RIGHTS

Tree devotees applaud the measures but property rights proponents say towns are going too far.

"Since when do the rights of trees take precedence over the rights of people?" said Elbie Bellon, owner of a tire and auto store in Hailey. "I'm a tree-hugger. I've planted hundreds in my lifetime, but I think it's totally ridiculous that someone can come along and tell you not to cut a tree down."

Sprawl, old age and lean local budgets are behind a steady loss in the number of mature trees in many U.S. cities, according to American Forests, a non-profit conservation group based in Washington D.C.

A study conducted by the group showed urban areas had 21 percent less tree cover in 2003 compared to a decade before.

Trees save cities millions each year by improving air quality, lowering energy use and reducing storm water runoff. Deborah Gangloff, executive director of American Forests, cites research that suggests trees raise worker productivity, aid healing and boost spending by shoppers.

Worshiped by ancient religions and praised by poets, trees were rooted in the American consciousness even before John Chapman sprinkled apple seeds across the nation's then frontier in the early 19th century.

"Trees invoke a tremendous amount of passion in individuals and in communities," said Dan Lambe, vice president of programs for the National Arbor Day Foundation.

FLOCK OF CONTROVERSY

That passion played out in public in San Francisco after a property owner in October cut down the first of several trees last year favored by a wild -- and now celebrated -- flock of parrots. City officials responded to the ensuing outcry by approving a program in January that protects trees designated as landmarks.

Since then, the city's forestry council has outlined goals to upgrade an urban forest whose origins date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when a nearly treeless landscape was planted.

In the lakefront community of Kirkland, Washington, officials have cut from five to two the number of healthy trees residents are allowed to fell on their property. Violators face a fine of up to $1,000 a tree and bear the cost of its replacement.

David Stephenson, manager of the Idaho Community Forestry Program, is among those who hope such steps will rejuvenate the spirit of planting that infused Western towns a century ago and provided the framework for their forests today. He worries that the decline of communities' canopies is linked to an underlying cultural shift.

"People once moved to cities from rural areas and they wanted to bring with them that rural character, which trees represented," he said. "Now we have generations born and raised in cities and we are in danger of losing that contact with nature."

Back in Ketchum, where tree cover has declined by an estimated 40 percent since 1993, residents are still seething over the developer's destruction of the three spruces.

"The community is outraged with that type of behavior," said City Manager Ron LeBlanc.

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Cindy Riker
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And your point is?
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob... I'll keep it brief.

Interesting article and indicative of trends forthcoming:
When do trees become public domain even if rooted on private property?

    Which is worth more? Three condos, or three 100 year old trees sitting on high density, high value urban land? Many urban townships in Michigan already have tree removal ordinances.

    All trees along any protected river in Michigan (wthin desiginated greenbelt setback) are public domain, private property or not. Legally, you need a permit to cut one, and a reason.

    Right in "our back yard" (Indian River) has erupted a HUGE outcry against the Cheboygan Country Road Commission, for plans to cut 800 + trees in a street improvement project. Many being 200+ year old, 4' dia white pines in the residential area. Details on this trainwreck... should anyone be interested.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I suppose somes viewpoint might be that trees in urban or residential setting have a greater environmental and aesthetic value than the development and improvements that displace them.

I am pro forest management. I suppose the point is that the conflicts are forthcoming. I have no answers. No one does.
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 8:44 pm    Post subject: Trees Reply with quote

Interesting article, Rob. I think it points out one important aspect of changing the landscape on private property. When a neighbor cuts trees, it is not an invisible event. It does affect those on either side, and those in front and back. The cliche, "It's my property and I can do whatever I want" just isn't neighborly. Don't private property owners consider their neighbors?

Americans are selfish. All that is important, many times, is what I want, period. To hades with everyone else.

Solution: education. Awareness. New thinking.

How to accomplish this...I have no clue. It seems like people that think like me are clunking their heads against the wall trying to convince others that old thinking is hurting everyone. Oh well, clunk, clunk, clunk.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:


Solution: education. Awareness. New thinking.

How to accomplish this...I have no clue. It seems like people that think like me are clunking their heads against the wall trying to convince others that old thinking is hurting everyone. Oh well, clunk, clunk, clunk.


Clue: All about the money $$$: Why did they "do that" and what was the personal gain? Like this has something to do with ethics, ideals or hurting the neighbors feelings?

Solution: Trees have more aesthetic value standing? Or property has more "value" if gone. See condo space versus trees. This applies to development in high land value areas. No awareness to it. Trees lose.

Last I heard, the bank wouldn't take lumber, ideals or awareness in on deposit. All about $$$ value of what. Shake it any way you like.
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:27 am    Post subject: Trees and doe ray mee Reply with quote

I always forget the $ factor. Keep the trees and get a tax break. Land remains naturally beautiful. Property values go up. More visitors. More spending. More local income. More money.

Thanks, Conis.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:41 am    Post subject: TREE POLICE? Reply with quote

John Elmer Engel wrote:
I always forget the $ factor. Keep the trees and get a tax break. Land remains naturally beautiful. Property values go up. More visitors. More spending. More local income. More money.

Thanks, Conis.


Subject: Landowners "tree rights"
WARNING: LONG POST

John, it is ALWAYS about the money! Begin with this and work backwards.

Wiscosins solution to "shoreline protection" is the most sane and logical approach I have yet heard. That is about the money, too.

We don't need tree police (yet).

Assuming landowners own the trees on their property, and remove some or all for a view of the water, then this is an "improvement" by the consensus of most. So property-tax it as an improvement. Likewise, this becomes an incentive to not take out more trees than necessary. This approach has to be outlined and made clear to waterfront landowners, is all. When Wisconsin initiated this program, the numer of landowners which signed up was HUGE. Because they had a way to manage property taxes year after year and still had the rights to manage THEIR trees as they saw fit. WIN WIN. If someone chose to turn their waterfront into a golf course, so be it. Taxes go up and stay there. High taxes being a "negative feature" when/if they ever want to sell that property? That consideration would be about the money, too?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OK, lets take this subject 180 degrees. How does a landowner prevent the power company or road commission (or state) from coming in with some "authority" and butchering trees that landowner didn't want removed?

It happens around here all the time. My neighbor lost +/- 100 mature red pines to the powerline crew. He wasn't home when it happened. Nor was he pleased. The trim crew WAY overdid it, because they could. They are subcontractors that get paid by the hour. The more trees they cut, the longer it takes and the more they get paid. Is this about the money?

I flat out won't let the trim crew on my property unless I am around to keep things under control. They have a right to trim/cut as needed. No question there. I don't think it is necessary to hack a 50-75' clearcut across someones property, "just in case". Nor will I allow them to come in with that tree-killer spray-crap they like to squirt around. Talk about a dead zone. The spray drifts, too, and nukes any/all it touches.

Better yet is the county road commission with this new toy they use to "cut" trees from the road side. A tractor with a long hydraulically operated arm on one side and what is similar to a lawnmower, except much more powerful and will cut sideways and overhead as well as flat.

You have never seen such a mess. It doesn't cut trees... it shreds them with splintered stumps sticking up in the air. Splintered tree limbs 8-10' up on nice hardwoods. Not real attractive. The crazy part is that it doesn't kill or remove the trees. They start regrowing from the stump and within two years, there is a 8'high jungle along side the road.

Some landowners have discouraged the road comission from trimming with this monstrosity, by pounding in steel T fence posts every 8' or so. They hide well in the saplings. A few wads of old barbed wire, in balls, is a nice touch too. Both make a nice metallic sound normally followed by the cutter blades instantly locking up. This is usually followed by profuse swearing coming from the operator.

This spring, they came through with this machine. The operator obviously had no perception of where the right of way stopped. He took out several 10' spruce trees, in my neighbors yard, right across the road Then started in trimming her hedge. I guess he thought it needed it and was doing her a favor? What he didn't know was that hedge, which had grown for 20 years was planted behind a page wire fence and the hedge had completely over grown it. When the cutters hooked up with the fence, it basically wound the fence on the cutters to the point the tractor about tipped over. About 15' of hedge went with it, ripped out of the ground. It wasn't pretty.

What has just happened in Indian River, with the street widening "improvements" and the justification provided by the road commission, is an extension of all this and much worse. I'll save it for a future edition, interest pending. I will say they used the same tactics; wait until the property owner is absent then go for it. If he doesn't like it? Tough lumps after the fact.

If I have a point, I am not sure what it is except how does a land owner prevent this sort of thing unless they are on guard and at home to intercede and keep things under control?

This, I perceive as a problem. #Mad
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well properity is worth more with a house on it. Also john I don't know about you but I don't live for my neighbors. And my neighbors have never paid any of my taxes or offered to pay for some of my land why should they have a say on what I do. And before you built if (you did) did you contact your neighbors and ask them if it was all right. It seems that you want everyone to not touch there land. I want to keep my trees growing and not turning dead and falling down, and keep up the ground foledge for the animals. And not having small maples and oaks dye because no sun. You can do any thing you want on your properity I don't care but I would not want this to happen on mine.
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John Elmer Engel
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:55 am    Post subject: Land-trees Reply with quote

You're right about the neighbors not paying my taxes. I did build my cabin with my neighbors in mind. Because they have the land almost untouched around their cabin, I did likewise. My wife said almost the same thing you said as far as did I check with my neighbors when I planted pine trees here in Bay City? No. And I guess we definitely do not have to check with the neighbors every time we alter our property.

You have to "touch" your land. I touched my as all do when building a structure. I am inviting you and any other persons to visit my cabin. I guess I can make a point much better with hands on or eyes on experience.

Land change on a lot as compared to large parcels of land, I think, deserves different approaches.

And value of land with or without a structure is of course different. Land value with or without trees is another story.
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