City to Make Sure Its Tree Trimmer Didn't Get a Little Too Chainsaw-Happy in Trinity Forest

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A few tree-hugging Friends of Unfair Park sent word earlier today that someone from Park and Rec was out clearcutting trees in the Great Trinity Forest, which seemed a bit ... odd. Wrote one, the guy was using a chainsaw in Gateway Park to cut down Red Oaks, Possumhaw Hollies, Bur Oaks, Cedar Elms, Pecans and other varieties on the city's list of protected trees. "Ironic that the city doesn't follow its own rules," writes one Friend.

To which frequent KERA commenter Rawlins Gilliland added on his Facebook page: "The sad irony: Dallas is funding 'free trees' for residents to help get more people to plant trees, which add so much to the environment in so many ways. Many of these exact species the Parks guy was cutting down the city is supplying in a time of budget cutbacks no less. And in a heat wave to eliminate shade? In a drought to eliminate protection of the creek? In a time of air pollution to hack down trees that purify the air?" He noted that the resulting massacre left "this woodsy oasis a scorched-earth, shadeless barren creek bank ripe for erosion."

So I made some calls to Park and Rec, discovered that city forester Karen Woodard is out of town, and tried to find someone else to address the choppin'-down. At which point Willis Winters, Park and Rec's second-in-command, called Unfair Park to explain what he found out about the tree-trimming and then some. Lucky him.

Says Winters, the trail maintenance folks espied in that part of the forest "ongoing illicit activities in the park and in the woods." And so, in the course of today's routine privet removal and tree pruning, a city crew "took it upon themselves to remove privet and raise the tree canopy to increase visibility," Winter said. When I read to him the list of trees cut down, he said, "I hope that's not the case" and said "we'll try to get out there," but it probably won't be till week's end, at which point he'll provide an update.

All of which serves as a reminder: The city's looking for citizen foresters.
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10 comments
Rawlins Gilliland
Rawlins Gilliland

Trust me...the young personable but clueless chain saw massacre guy 'contracted' to scorch the earth was nice but had zero idea the name or identity of any of the trees I pointed to in the stacked tree carcases pyre.  I lifted a burr oak...by any opinion a gorgeous species...and slow growing to boot... that was easily 15 years old.  Pointed to the cedar elm, the cedar, the red oak, the hackberry, the works.  He said he was 'following orders.  'Clear' means scalped bare? 'You don't think he meant 'clear the underbrush' as opposed to 'clear it all until it's only dirt & sky bare'I asked him.  "What else could it mean' he asked me. So there you have it.

'Lifting the canopy' the parks guy say.  There is no canopy to lift where they clear cut.  I walk my dogs in the baseball Gateway Park every day of my life since it is behind my home...en route to the woods trails that I walk daily.  It is literally behind my home at the base of the hill in the northeast corner of the Trinity Forest.

I can tell you that if the parks department has seen illicit activity...code for what, sex?...it's news to me since I have probably seen less gay or hetero sexual activity lurking around those bushes that I have seen at a WalMart produce department.  And as for 'what happens at night', 1) how is having no trees when there is a 800 acre forest immediately behind this baseball park....going to be a deterrent?  What are people going to do?  Bulldoze the forest to eliminate 'activity'? 

Since this park is behind my home & I am active in my Homeowner's association, I would be in a position to know if indeed there had been 'complaints' about 'activity' in that park.  I would however mention that on more than one occasion I have had men...clearly cops under cover...stalking me rubbing their crotch as if my two dogs are no clue as to why 'a man' is 'in the park'.  I know I feel 'safe' having these low life losers around. 

cp
cp

this part right here should be attributed to Rawlins.

"The sad irony: Dallas is funding 'free trees' for residents to help get more people to plant trees, which add so much to the environment in so many ways," she continued. "Many of these exact species the Parks guy was cutting down the city is supplying in a time of budget cutbacks no less. And in a heat wave to eliminate shade? In a drought to eliminate protection of the creek? In a time of air pollution to hack down trees that purify the air?"

Ben
Ben

Which Gateway Park? There are two. One on Jim Miller, south of Scyene and the other on Dowdy Ferry @ I-20. I assume the one on Jim Miller. Both places attract a bad element of Groveites to some degree. Even the small scraggly looking oaks at Gateway Park on Jim Miller are often very old. They grow on near bare limestone and despite their short stature are hundreds of years old.

Chinese Privet sucks. What the city should really do is get a controlled burn going. Burn all that stuff out. In the late 70s there was a large burn(uncontrolled) south of 175 and east of Rochester Park, west of Pemberton Hill Road. It nuked all the privet and brush but left most of the trees standing over a couple caliper inches in size. The result is a rather open woodland thats easy to walk through and not all choked like the Buckeye Trail.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

This city just continues to shoot itself in the foot day after day after day.... and the response is always, 'let me get back to you on that.'

JanM
JanM

I don't think there's one city tree crew employee (those which actually do the work) that would know a possumhaw from a hole in the wall. Apparently they know what illicit activity is, though.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

Actually, I assumed illicit activity meant drugs, but what do I know? All I know is that I've been there twice, and both times, the place was filled with families walking and watching soccer games. Thanks for bringing this to light Rawlins.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Indeed -- as I was cribbing from your note, I failed to notice that's where the quote had come from. My apologies to all. It's been fixed.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

This area is at Jim Miller and Scyene Road. There are lots of nice burr oaks, walnuts, cedar elm and eastern red cedar in this area. on top of the Escarpment near by are Shin Oaks and Red Oaks. This is a beautiful area and the Beeman, Scyene Overlook and Piedmont Ridge Trails area all quite nice. 

As far as bad elements, when I hiked there a few weeks back there were lots of families watching soccer. I can't speak to what happens at night.

I wouldn't describe the Buckeye Trail as choked. The Master Naturalists have made much headway in clearing Privet from around that Buckeye Grove. Of course there's still tons of it, and we'll no doubt be clearing it more when the weather clears. Now the areas off of the trail in places are filled with Privet. There's a secondary trail over to White Rock Creek that 's got some really towering old Bur Oaks.

james
james

HEY BIG BROTHER if you ever arrive, exactly what 'illicit activity' was happenein'? have the neighbors complained about it? do you destroy the forest like a ragged old house because someone smelt a little reefer?

cp
cp

Yeah, I second what Bill said. You can't burn out privet. Anyway, there's not too much of the stuff at Gateway Park.

I wondered if the Park Department was merely responding to ignorant citizen complaints about perverts and snakes "in them dangerous woods" because that's always what Park and Rec always uses as an excuse. So either there really are great dangers that clear cutting can solve, or PARD is just in a sad state. I'm going with the latter.

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