“The Killing” was created to illustrate the violence done by a county agency in chainsawing a 90-year-old Douglas Fir — and over 20 more trees — on public land in Marin County, CA, north of San Francisco.
ABC-TV NEWS Story 4.21.15 (CLICK TO PLAY)
ALIVE 90 YEARS, DEAD IN MINUTES
This tree was healthy and over 100 feet tall, maturing in a forest, just beginning its magnificent journey through life (Doug Firs can live 500-1,000 years). It was killed in mere minutes by people, decades younger than the fir tree itself, wielding a chainsaw. They were unable or unwilling to feel its aliveness or sense its value as a healthy, valuable, integral part of a living ecosystem.
It was one of over 22 trees killed in a single day to attempt to close a harmless trail.
Marin County Parks should know better. Their stated mission: ...preserving, protecting, and enriching the natural beauty of Marin’s parks and open spaces, and providing recreational opportunities for the enjoyment of all generations.
DESTROY A FOREST IN ORDER TO SAVE IT
Why was this done? Both The MCOSD Director and Assn’t Director have stuck to their saws, explaining this is their “standard practice” used to close trails. Fir trees, California Bay Laurels, and Monterey Pines, 3-to-27″ in diameter, were all cut down in their attempt to block locals from walking the 3/4-mile long foot trail, just 18″ wide. Used for years, by few people in this rural community, it had negligible impact on the woods it meandered through.
The trail itself was created without harming a single living tree. Locals who used it commented on its beauty and gentle integration into the hillside it climbed. Nature lovers who love feeling connected to and surrounded by this woodlands, preferred it over an alternate route, a steeper, gravelly, fire road. Ironically, the steep fire road is rutted by erosion and rain — but not the small one the county claims did damage.
The Open Space District wielded chainsaws, felling trees, and paradoxically widening the trail in their attempt to cover it over. One resident says the trail, with numerous sawed trees and stumps along it, now make it look and feel like a logging road.
In effect, agency representatives have killed dozens of trees, damaged acres of vegetation (to rake over the trail), saying it was necessary, AND THAT THEY WILL DO IT AGAIN to “preserve” the forest.
Again, the agency’s mission: “...preserving, protecting, and enriching the natural beauty of Marin’s parks and open spaces, and providing recreational opportunities for the enjoyment of all generations.”
COUNTY AGENCY DID MORE DAMAGE IN 1 DAY THAN THE TRAIL DID IN 5 YEARS
To clarify, the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) claims the damage they did here is less than the damage a rural community did by creating and using this small social trail. But exactly the opposite is true: the county agency did far more damage in one day than hundreds of trail users did in over 5 YEARS of low-impact use. The trail caused no erosion and provided switchback access up a steep hillside for seniors in the community.
Another San Geronimo resident, Ellen Floyd, age 87, wrote this letter to the County Supervisors:
I have lived in the San Geronimo Valley since the 60s and have raised 4 children here. All have chosen to own property here. Eight grandchildren have walked these hills. We are all passionate about this land and have been loving, resolute stewards. Suddenly Open Space has felled a 30″ diameter Douglas Fir plus numerous other mature trees right above my house in the Giacomini Preserve in an effort to close the trails where we walk. I use this land to meditate and rejuvenate myself. I’m 87 now. Where am I to go when I get old? – Ellen Floyd, San Geronimo
WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you live in Marin County, call the Marin County Supervisors, who are elected and in turn appoint County Parks & Open Space officials. Tell them you want all live tree killing to stop immediately and forever.
• Call Steve Kinsey, the Marin County Supervisor for this District (#4): 415-473-3092. Tell him you don’t want the Parks Dept. killing trees to close trails. And that closing any trail should only be done with the local community’s approval, not imposed from an office by people who don’t know or care for these lands as much as residents do.
• Call the other 4 Supervisors of Marin County, because the policies used in District #4 are used county-wide. Your Marin neighborhood’s trees are next: 415-473-7331.
WHAT’S GOING ON HERE; THE BIGGER PICTURE
Much more is at stake than one beautiful tree. Or 20 trees. Or just one forest, or just one well-to-do county that can afford to spend time and energy debating such issues. At stake are two fundamentally different views about how we humans perceive and interact with the natural world:
1) Trees are merely objects to destroy as we please, with such little value we may kill them, cut them down, at will, as was done here, not even for profit, but to try to control public behavior with deadly (to nature) force. And they have the audacity to call us, the defenders of these trees and these lands, as “criminals” (see ABC-TV video at top of page).
2) Trees are one of many beautiful, valuable and fragile non-human species
we appreciate and value by tapping deeper into our innate sense of the sanctity and interconnectness of all life. As we diminish our forests, we harm our priceless ecosystem, all other species, and ourselves.
Trees are defenseless at the hands of us powerful, smart, tool-wielding, numerous humans. We have the power and thus the responsibility of determining their fate. We all learned in grade school (and too easily act as if we’ve forgotten) that we are part of a web of interconnected life, so our actions on plants and animals also determines our own fate. Until we learn this lesson of interdependence, we will continue to deforest the Earth and slowly, and lately not so slowly, make our one and only home less habitable for all.
We are already plenty smart; intelligence is not the question. The question is: are we willing to FEEL again?
A forthcoming ABC-TV news story will show you this tree, this trail, this forest, and the people who live in it and love it. Then you can decide for yourself what the right thing to do here is.
Marin Independent Journal article #1 by Nels Johnson: Feb. 27, 2015: http://www.marinij.com/20150227/marin-county-trail-war-zone-flap-erupts
Marin Independent Journal article #2 by Nels Johnson: March 11, 2015: http://www.marinij.com/general-news/20150311/trail-battle-looms-above-forest-knolls
Marin Independent Journal article #3 by Nels Johnson: March 24, 2015: http://www.marinij.com/general-news/20150324/marin-county-parks-tree-and-trail-killing-draws-fire
Point Reyes Light article by Christopher Peak, Nov. 21, 2013: http://www.ptreyeslight.com/article/valley-residents-outraged-trails-plan
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