In Which mrpeenee Hugs a Tree

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Before I start whining again, let me clear up an earlier misunderstanding.  Last spring I wrote about the canyon I call home, including this shot of neighborhood eucalyptus,

and dear NormaDesmond commented something along the lines of being surprised since he thought I lived in San Francisco.  SIGH.  As a matter of fact, I live not only in San Francisco, but in the very center of it, geographically.  It just happens that my neighborhood is a huge canyon (the unimaginatively named Glen Canyon,) undeveloped except for the street I live on.  I suspect this represents real estate development shenanigans, but it’s ok with me because I get to live like Lisa Douglas from Green Acres: a big city gal surrounded by greenery.

Anyway, I interrupted my demanding schedule of vicodin induced napping to bustle down to a meeting this afternoon at the Glen Canyon Rec Center (a Rec Center!  Complete with muscular young hooligans shooting hoops next door.) that had been called to protest over plans to cut down a bunch of the enormous eucalytus and other trees that fill the canyon.

San Francisco is a tiny peninsula wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Bay with no rain nine months out of the year.  Before the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it had no trees, just windswept sand dunes and stunted scrub.  By the 1920’s, agressive planting of eukes, cypress and pines in the parks and open spaces around town had helped alleviate that to a degree, but San Francisco still has one of the smallest surface areas covered by a tree canopy in America.  We have about 12 percent; not much more than Las Vegas, for christ sake, and far less than Houston’s more than 30 per cent.

So it would seem like, with climate change looming, we would cling to each tree, tooth and nail.  Instead, the SF recreation and parks’ Natural Areas Program pushed through city legislation to remove thousands of trees here to help restore the landscape to what it was originally.  Hard to argue with that, but I do because I do not think the trade off of all the trees is worth it.

The meeting was exactly what I expected, a roomful of old local hippies with a seasoning of crazy guys.  They’re slated to start cutting trees in a couple of weeks and I don’t know if this protest has any chance of working.

Again, sigh.
Why do I expect this is not what’s in store?

12 responses »

  1. Nature's a wonderful thing…

    But seriously – why on earth would the gnomes of SF want to return the city to semi-desert? it seems madness… I am aware that Eucalyptus – although beautiful – are potentially lethal non-natives (they do have a habit of exploding and causing bush fires), but presumably the landscape without trees will just be desolate.

    From Green Gables to The High Chaparral in the swing of a chainsaw.

    Jx

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  2. Ah…I remember those Eucalyptus trees. Magnificent
    I still have some leaves I picked up from my little visit with you in fact. I was completely enchanted by them. If I half thought one would grown here…in a pot on my patio, I would try.

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  3. Bloody idiots! I'm all for historical preservation (probably more than most) but, hasn't it occurred to them that something else arrived along with the trees in the late 19th and early 20th century. It's called CIVILIZATION!!!

    Do they really want to return the place to the pre-civilized era of 49ers and saloons and chewin' tabaccy?

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  4. I wonder who stands to make money off the lumber from those trees. . .it's not like they're being removed because they are diseased or infested with tree-killing insects.

    BTW, I'm having problems picturing Mr. P. in chiffon and marabou, tottering around on kitten-heeled lame mules.

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  5. Here in Bawlimer we now have unlimited recycling – you can put out ALL the boxes you have. I know because we do. But the city is making a MINT on the value of the recycling materials. But they can't tell us what the city reaped for it in the first year after it came to being, and they can't tell us where the money is going.

    Likewise, I think that they are cutting trees for a reason other than restoration. The question is what, and who stands to make money…

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