Re: “Trees removed as precaution along busy Gig Harbor road” (TNT, 3-12).
Trees, tall ones especially, provide public benefits as no other amenity can. They filter and clean the air, absorb carbon dioxide and exude oxygen; they slow the pelting rain and help soils absorb runoff and recharge the aquifer; they shield noises, improve the view, cool us in summer and shelter homes from bitter winter winds, all the while providing habitat for wildlife on the move.
Trees buffer one development from another. The regulated buffer width is only a political compromise. Clear-cutting developers should be required to first assess the actual width needed to assure the buffer trees’ survival.
Thoughtful design of vegetated corridors should be required to avoid an event such as the tragic death on Borgen Boulevard during last fall’s windstorm.
Nevertheless, a few months after, the City of Gig Harbor heedlessly mowed 80-year-old trees to the narrowest edge of Peacock Hill Avenue Northwest. The results were predictable. The glorious trees left lining the road were declared a safety hazard and sacrificed in “an abundance of caution.” The public needlessly lost valuable benefits.
Alternatives were available. Trees could have been wind-sailed or the buffer zone shape re-designed.
We must learn how to keep the amenities bestowed by our tall trees.