Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Victoria Pool March 27,2006


save the victoria pool society said...

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Tree report missed hazardous pine that crushed local man
JIM KINNEY, The Saratogian
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SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The pine tree that blew over in Saratoga Spa State Park and killed a Saratoga Springs man Feb. 17 wasn't listed as dangerous or 'being watched' on a hazardous tree report prepared three months earlier.

The November report lists 136 trees at the 2,200-acre park -- on the Avenue of the Pines and elsewhere -- that had been removed for safety reasons from 2001 through November of last year. The report lists seven trees as 'being watched,' one tree as awaiting removal in November and one, a white pine on the Avenue, as needing to be trimmed.

The Saratogian received Monday copies of the November and July 2005 dangerous tree reports at the park through a freedom of information law request. State Parks also forwarded a copy of a 1998 tree study completed by foresters from Finch Pruyn & Co.

These are different document than a memo released this week by Parks Regional Director Warren Holliday defending his decision to cut down hundreds of trees in the park following the Feb. 17 storm.

State Parks spokeswoman Cathy Jimenez said the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is working on ways to better identify potentially dangerous trees, but she would not elaborate.

Finch Pruyn, the Glens Falls-based paper maker, has talked with state parks about updating its 1998 study of the park's trees, spokesman John Brodt said. The company volunteered the services of its foresters for the project in 1998.

Ernie Huntington, the woodlot supervisor at Finch Pruyn, said Monday it might have been impossible to realize that the pine which killed George Green, a state Department of Transportation employee who was passing through the Avenue of the Pines, was about to fall.

Jimenez said the tree had a few inches of rotted wood in its center.

'You can take a core sample, but even if we'd have taken a core sample at the ground we wouldn't have found it because that's not where the rot was,' she said.

The tree that killed Green snapped off about 15 feet above the ground. The wood looked solid from a distance.

In the wake of the storm, state Parks workers removed hundreds of trees from the park, including about 20 from the Avenue of the Pines. Holliday said those trees proved to be either diseased or damaged by the storm. Some of them were listing 20 degrees out of plumb.

The cutting prompted protests from the community decrying what they called the 'avenue of stumps'.

One of the protesters, Amy Doern of Saratoga Springs, said she wants to take the dangerous tree report to a forester and see what an expert thinks.

'It's like handing someone who doesn't read music a score and saying 'How do you like this song?,' ' Doern said.

She said she is now concerned more how the state will make decisions about future tree cutting and the promised replanting of trees on the Avenue.

Over the weekend, Holliday said he wants to replace some of the cut-down Avenue trees with 4- to 6-feet tall trees. He declined to be interviewed Monday, instead sending questions to Jimenez. But he said last week there won't be a meeting with public input, that responsibility for the park is his.

Doern said Monday she wants such a meeting.

'Part of his responsibility is being responsible to the people of the state,' she said.

©The Saratogian 2006

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At Home in Ballston said...

I certainly would like to attend an open meeting about the future of the park. "Albany" should not have the final say in new designs or items. Only we, as Saratogians, can understand the Uniqueness of this treasure !!!