Based on the Jan. 22 article reporting on my Cedaredge Tree Board presentation at the January Cedaredge trustee meeting, I have to assume that there is a misunderstanding as to the role the tree board has pertaining to trees in the Cedaredge area and more specifically the town park. I know I'm not the only one that saw this problem since I received a call from a tree service company wanting to place a bid for tree pruning/removal in the town park.
The Cedaredge Tree Board is strictly an advisory board and as such does not make any official decisions for the town. Our goal is to provide information and advice that would foster the planting of more desirable trees and their maintenance as healthy trees. Our board advises the town administrator, mayor, and trustees as to what we believe are the best approaches to the selection and planting of trees, best pruning practices, removal recommendations for hazard trees and evaluation of situations involving trees that might prove to be hazardous.
The tree board also hosts an annual Arbor Day celebration, a Sick Tree Day, and recently an information booth at AppleFest. We have also partnered with the Cedaredge Public Library, the Cedaredge Cemetery, the Cedaredge Elementary School, the Cedaredge Volunteer Fire Department and the Surface Creek Valley Historical Society to plant, replace and prune trees at no cost to them.
There needs to be clarification made on the issue of tree removal and pruning of trees in the town park. At no time had the tree board been approached by the town to evaluate the hazard status of trees in the park before bids were sought and trees were scheduled for pruning or removal. I had previously made arrangements for Vince Urbina, community forester from Grand Junction, to assist me in February in evaluating trees in the town park and developing a multi-year plan for needed pruning, removals and new tree plantings. Because the town had moved ahead with their tree removal plans, and had in fact already removed one tree, we moved up our evaluation date to Jan. 28 so that a more objective, horticultural-based plan could be rendered.
I realize that the Town of Cedaredge has risk issues to address for the purpose of liability insurance. And certainly the safety of adults and especially our children using the park playground have to have a priority over saving trees. But I maintain that tree experts might view the potential tree hazard situation quite differently than insurance company auditors.
What the tree board wants is total transparency to the citizens of Cedaredge when tree removal is an issue. The tree board will continue to make recommendations but these recommendations do not have to be followed by town officials.
Dr. James Leser