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Colorado Springs administrators think 100 years is old enough for local trees

Colorado Springs city administrators have announced they will have to cut down a number of 100-year-old trees in the historic downtown area, due they explain, to diminishing water access and the resultant risk of limbs falling, jeopardizing motorists. Rescuing the majestic trees is apparently beyond the city's budget, so they're on the chopping block, literally. The scenario reminds me of the fate of Pueblo's Old Monarch, a 388-year-old cottonwood which the city felled in 1883 because it didn't fit with the city fathers' street plan. Hundreds of residents tried to save Old Monarch, they petitioned, rallied and for a while they prevailed. You can read what happened on a brass plaque which now commemorates the site. I'll reprint it here. Interestingly, the narrative seems to celebrate Pueblo's treachery. "The day came, however, when the value of the tree in the middle of the main business street was challenged. In spite of 366 protesting citizens, the South Pueblo Council ordered it to be cut down.   Men hired by the Council approached the tree and informed the gathering crowd that they were only there to trim the branches. This, of course, was the news the protesters wanted to hear and soon dispersed. As soon as the crowd had gone, the Council sent orders to girdle the tree. Once that task was done all hope of saving "Old Monarch" was lost." To girdle a tree means to make a cut along the circumference deep enough to sever the half dozen rings which are still live conduits, effectively cutting off its nutrients. Taking a lesson I suppose, today's downtown residents can thwart Colorado Springs' move. For one, color over the orange marks which distinguish the trees to be culled. Better yet, stay the axe by marking every tree downtown with the same paint. Or of course, send a delegation to city hall and propose the obvious, that these trees should stay, they can grow to be many hundred years older, urge that proper effort be made. The City Council must be steward to Colorado Springs' resources, not merely their reaper.

Nevada Avenue is losing its shade trees

COLORADO SPRINGS- Unless you ride the city buses which leave the downtown station, you may not have noticed the leafy shade is gone. A few years ago when urban improvement struck Tejon Street, merchants were able to dash outside a save their trees from the chainsaw. The trees which until recently offered shade to those waiting at the central bus station had no such protectors.

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