Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Reflections on Murdered Trees

During Sunday's OMBA trail day there was some discussion about using natural materials, and particularly wood from around the trails in the South March Highlands, for trail projects such as bridges. I raised the issue that there may be a perception problem even if you use dead trees or trees that have come down during storms. Indeed there have been complaints of mountain bikers cutting down trees, though none of them have been confirmed and no evidence can be found of it happening. I suspect they may simply be based on people seeing trail crews going in with saws to cut down trees that have fallen over the trails during storms.

Then, yesterday, as I was riding along M-line, I remembered my earlier nature hike along the Terry Fox Drive Extension work with members of the Coalition to Save the South March Highlands where we saw the huge trees that had been cut down for the roadway, not to mention the cutting down of what may have been the oldest tree in Ottawa, an over 200 year old Maple. It seems that in Ottawa the City will spend hundreds of thousand in court costs to fight residents who want to remove trees that are damaging their foundations but when it comes to really significant trees and forests it gives the orders to clear cut them.

None of that can be undone but it got me thinking that maybe some of what has been cut can be salvaged for use in what remains of the conservation area, perhaps for trail work or for other uses.

If there is anything left of the over 200 year old Maple it should be preserved for use in a memorial to the City's greed (for free federal money) and willful environmental blindness. I would love to see the stump cut level with the roadway so drivers actually had to drive over the top of it to be reminded every time they drive the road of what was sacrificed for their precious highway.

Unless of course, the unthinkable happens, and they stop the madness.

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