July 15, 2008

hugging trees

We have a nice park nearby, Leinbach Park. It is a city park. Walking trail, tennis courts, kids playground...

I was driving Robinhood Rd to work, and I had to stop! Trees are being cut in the park! I could not believe my eyes!

These big, healthy trees were shading the park from the Robinhood road, and it's traffic, the fumes. I could not just pass by this tree cemetery... The heavy equipment was there, workers... If i could not stop them, I had stopped myself. I got out of the car and talked to the guy who was operating big tractor. "How do you feel about what you're doing to this park?" - i asked him. He said: "I love my job!" I realized that i need to go elsewhere with my question. The question was: "Why?"

I called the city, Vegetation department. They were saying that the road needs to be wider, and to do the job they need to cut big trees in the park along the road. O, yes - in order to get somewhere faster we need to cut and knock down everything that is on our way... Trees can't say much. But people can.

I addressed my question to the Winston-Salem Journal. Ronda Bumgardner
was very responsive (thank you!) and published my question along with my photo of the cut trees. Sometimes photo tells us more that words can.

I also adressed my question to the City Council. I was rather impressed with the respond from a Council Member Wanda Merschel. She really invested her time to get to the bottom of the problem, i feel.

Here is the final respond that I have received. It is from Tim Grant, Director of the Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department (forwarded to me by the City Council Wanda Merschel):

Todd M. Love (Public Works Engineering Division) has worked on this project with us. This project is a road widening on Robinhood Road. This project has been talked about since 2003 and it involves the road widening, new sidewalk and the underground placement of electrical/phone lines. I believe that City Council approved a municipal agreement sometime in 2003. I believe that this project was delayed due to funding for a couple of years. Connie Curtis was working on this project in 2003-04.

As you may know, Leinbach Park is an LWCF property (Land and Water Conservation Fund) and the city had to get the approval from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Parks and Recreation. That approval was given in writing to the city by John C. Poole in May of 2008. The National Park Service (Edwolyn Dooley-Higgins) also gave its approval in May 2008 and they saw no negative impact on the recreational aspect of the park area.

The proposed roadway improvement will make ingress and egress into the park easier and safer for motorists and park users. There is a proposed sidewalk that will improve pedestrian travel and safety along Norman and Robinhood Road and the trail system. This project will also add an additional turning land off Sally Kirk Road and Norman Road. The new sidewalk will be 5 feet wide and a 10 foot utility easement. There will be minimal impact upon the park and no impact to the walking trail.

A new retaining wall will be installed along Robinhood Road (with stairs from the park to the sidewalk) and there will be new trees planted and landscaping improvements along Robinhood Road. We only supported this project with the inclusion of new buffer trees and landscaping. The landscaping and trees will be planted by Vegetation Management. James Mitchell has been involved with this project along with us. James Mitchell has put together a plan that will allow for a denser buffer zone than what was currently located there. We reviewed this project with our recreation and parks commission on June 3, 2008. The project is scheduled to be completed by the start of school in late August 2008.

I can be available to discuss this further or get Todd M. Love to provide further clarification as to the specifics of this project.

Timothy A. Grant, Director
Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department
100 East First Street, Stuart Municipal Building
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 734-1210 office

Tree are crying. Stubs are there - looks like a cemetery. My neighbour's 5 years old boy cryed when he came to his park and saw these trees being cut. He said: "Mommy, i want to plan a tree. Many-many trees!" They cut "only" five big trees. Others they considered to be "small". Our park is not quite the park we loved. Cars, traffic, the air quality has been compromised...

I observed how big tractor was fighting the last piece of the tree that still was in the ground. The tree was holding up like as if it was a matter of princip - hold on the the earth! The tree didn't want to give up... Do we?

What can stop us?

natalia tuchina


Anonymous said...


I appreciate your concern over protecting our envornomental resources. I would also point out that by adding a right hand turn lane at Sally Kirk and Robinhood, we will significantly reduce the long traffic backups we now experience at the intersection twice a day during drop off and pick up of kids at Jefferson Middle. This reduction in idling should help air quality, and the turn lane will improve traffic safety.

Lee Garrity
City Manager

Anonymous said...

poor trees. they could at least pick them up and move them. but i guess it's much easier to saw them in half and call it "progress". grrr!!! nature is best.

Anonymous said...

Since we are losing the trees and cannot prevent this, is there some way that the larger, older beautiful ones could be recycled or repurposed? Maybe even a wood crafter could pick them up, or they could be made into something creative for the park play area, like animal or bird shapes ;o)