UPDATE: Due to efforts by a grassroots group led by Wild and Scenic Rivers, the removal of 60 trees in Azalea Park has been postponed until the community has an opportunity for input at a workshop to be scheduled in winter 2017-2018.
Many people who enjoy Azalea Park, the majority who live in Brookings-Harbor but including former residents and those who visit from outside the area, are asking the City of Brookings to halt its plan to cut more than 60 trees in the park.
More than 500 individuals opposed the tree removal in an online petition started by Brookings residents just a few days after the City publicized its imminent plan to cut the trees. And the opposition continues to rise.
The decision to cut the 60 plus trees, which was planned for today, April 24, 2017.
It makes sense that there are things to be done before removing 60+ trees and before making any other major modifications to the park.
The decision to remove the trees apparently was made after they were determined to be “hazard trees”. This identification was made, according to city officials, after a “brief walk” through the park with an “Urban Forester”. The identification was aided by a pamphlet “How to Recognize and Prevent Tree Hazards”. No other criteria was used or expert opinions requested.
Concerned citizens have contacted a professional arborist, willing to look at the situation and give an opinion without cost to the City, regarding tree removal.
City residents also are confused after hearing that some trees have been cut because they are shading the park’s native Azaleas and this may continue. None of the trees to be cut are shading the Azaleas. A professional landscaper also has agreed, without cost, to look at the park and give an assessment.
Azalea Park is included in the City’s Master Plan for its parks, updated in 2011. It states that Azalea Park include organized group activities, community focal points and preserving open spaces and unique landscapes.
These are positive, but minimal, guidelines. Azalea Park, as far as can be determined, has never had an environmental inventory; if a more detailed Master Plan for the park exists, concerned citizens can’t locate it.
In order to know how to best manage what many consider one of the best parts of Brookings, an environmental inventory and a Master Plan for the park are essential.
Solid, detailed, knowledge of the trees and plants, open spaces, wetlands and animals of the park, in addition to thoughtfully determining human wants and needs, are essential to developing a Master Plan.
A Master Plan, specifically made for Azalea Park, will help insure its best future and flexibility regarding its use by people.
The citizens of the City of Brookings respectfully request that the City not proceed with the removal of 60 trees from Azalea Park.