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Chasing Down The Muse: What are they thinking?

July 17, 2012|By Cherril Doty

"A man doesn't plant a tree for himself. He plants it for posterity."

— Alexander Smith

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Thirty-one? You're kidding, right?

My passions fired up and I was fighting mad.

When I heard that the city of Laguna Beach was considering cutting down 31 of the stately eucalyptus trees in already stripped-down Bluebird Canyon, I was shocked. Sputtering, even. Rational and irrational questions flared through my mind and, at times, my mouth as I pondered the untimely notice sent out to the residents.

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Why? What are they thinking?

What about the ambience for which so many of us moved here?

What about the birds that live in these trees — another of the reasons I personally chose to live here? Doesn't Laguna Beach profess to be a bird sanctuary?

What about careful and timely pruning of these trees — long-time residents themselves of this beautiful canyon? Is this all about costs? Get rid of them and there will be no more need to pay a tree service to trim?

Is this fear-based? Newport Beach had a tree fall on a woman passing in her car. Is Laguna Beach fearful that something like that could happen here?

And what's with the timing of the hearing anyhow? Just as festival season started up, with the Preview Night at the Sawdust Art Festival not only luring locals, but taking up most of the downtown parking spots? Suspicions clouded my mind still further.

While I am a lover of nature, I don't think of myself as what many call a "tree-hugger." (I will admit I had a momentary image of chaining myself to one of these trees or, better yet, building a tree house in one and encamping there.) Still, I cannot imagine this canyon stripped of these beautiful trees.

The questions just kept coming. No answers really satisfied me, even as my husband said that the arborist who spoke at the hearing made many good points.

So, while I was hot under the collar, I did my research.

Arborist Ed Black, does not recommend removal of all thirty-one trees in question. I find, on reading his report, that in fact I agree with his assessment of the 10 most dangerous trees and with all of his recommendations.

What residents here in Bluebird Canyon can do is encourage the city to remove the dangerous trees and replace as many as reasonable, while doing the recommended trimming of others.

Yes, they are messy. Heck, much of life is. As with life, we can deal with it. The things we value are worth a bit of time and effort.

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