The Delta County Historical Society, owner of the 215+ year old Ute Council Tree, has made plans to have the ailing Ute Council Tree cut down to a level about 10 to 12 feet above the ground, with further plans to create a memorial with the surviving trunk of the tree. With the loss of the last limb on the tree trunk on Aug. 1, tree experts, following an up-close examination, have determined that the tree is now at great risk of a catastrophic failure since the crown of the tree contains the only remaining branches. A good wind could stress the trunk, accelerating any failure possibility.
The Delta County Historical Society has stated that the risk is now unacceptable, and for the safety of nearby property as well as the risk to people in the vicinity, the majority of the tree must be removed.
The Council Tree has great importance within the Ute culture, as the tree was known to have significance when it was part of a cottonwood grove prior to the eviction of the Utes from the area in 1881.
The Ute Council Tree will be cut to a tall stump on Friday, August 25, 2017. Beginning in the early morning, tree removal experts, in partnership with Doughty Steel and Machine, Inc., will begin the process, expected to take seven to eight hours to complete. Doughty Steel will be assembling its big crane at the tree site and it will be used to lower cut branches in the tree crown to the ground, where they will be loaded onto a truck for removal to a city storage facility.
While the public is invited to view the process, portions of G96 Lane and 1550 Road will be closed to traffic, for safety reasons. Visitors to the site should expect a short walk to reach the area.
Many Ute Indians are expected to attend the event, traveling from their tribal reservations for a final look at this great historic tree. Ute prayers and blessings are expected to take place before any limbs are cut from the tree.
About 9:30 a.m., a short dedication program will take place as close as possible to the tree without interfering with the overall operation. Several local officials will speak as well as Ute representatives.
The Delta County Historical Society will accept any donations to help defray the cost of cutting down the tree. Donations can be mailed to the Delta County Museum, 251 Meeker Street, Delta, CO 81416, or can be brought to the tree site on Friday.
On Dec. 4 Delta County Commissioners Doug Atchley, Mark Roeber and Don Suppes denied the application of Paonia Holdings, LLC for a change of land use for the property at 41322 Highway 133, with an adjacent residence at 41402 Highway 133 and an ancillary property at 16180 Stevens Gulch Road.
The property is owned by Bowie Resources, LLC, and was formerly used as a coal load-out site.