Help save Chico’s Heritage Trees
Local tree advocate seeks support for Heritage Tree Committee
For the trees
Words from heritage-tree activist (and sign artist) Charles Withuhn regarding walnut trees at Third and Chestnut streets:
“What an opportunity. Six magnificent, giant, air-purifying trees towering 75 feet in the air, creating shade, energy savings and habitat. … Lost for merely the convenience of ‘development’ of straight sidewalks and straight curbs.
“Lately, Chico is all about curved (“bulb-out”) curbs on the corners for traffic planning. Yet, curved curbs to save trees as old as Bidwell Mansion are beyond our city’s capability, in spite of arborist Scot Wineland’s offer to do root protection, during construction, and maintenance pruning, at no charge to the city, for life.
“Since I saw the story of the six walnut trees at Third and Chestnut, [see ‘Arborist fights city to save historic walnut trees in Chico,’ Chico Enterprise-Record, July 2, 2013], I have had discussions with five certified arborists who have studied those trees. A majority of the certified arborists I talked to said that a majority of the trees could be saved, if we just protect the roots. Just stay away from the roots, curve the curbs and sidewalks [around them] and future generations might enjoy this wonderful canopy, cleaner air, shade and energy savings.
“I couldn’t stand by silently while this tree removal for curb convenience went on. So, I wondered, what would the trees say? They are always so quiet.
“So, Saturday, August 3, with the help of friends, I tied four yellow ribbons around the old walnut trees that said:
1. SAVE ME! The City says I’m being cut down. I was planted by a friend of Annie Bidwell.
2. Three certified arborists say I’M HEALTHY—just protect my roots. But the city says I’m getting cut down. Bummer.
3. Please call the city for me, will you? 896-7200
4. I can’t talk now.
“I sent a photo [pictured] of our yellow-ribbon event and a few words to each of our City Council people. …
“We have formed the Chico Heritage Tree Committee; it already has 25 citizens and two civic groups signed on. If you would like to help stand up for our Heritage Trees, call me at 343-3152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Are we going to honor this part of our heritage that is Chico’s urban forest, or start looking a little more like so many other valley towns that bake from poor planning?
“Twenty years from now, our children will not remember or care about most of our current issues, save this one. Our urban forest is a gift from our fathers’ fathers to all of Chico.
“We adults of Chico will either be gratefully remembered for taking care of this rare and precious gift, or we won’t.”
More tree talk:
The city has recently cut down 170 big trees but only replanted 60.
—Mark Herrera, member of the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission, in letter from the Chico Heritage Tree Committee to members of the Chico City Council
To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.
—Clarissa Pinkola Estés