Denuding Glen Canyon Park
Despite the concerns about tree-felling voiced at the 7 January 2013 meeting, the actual felling of trees started on Jan 10 with the line of century-old eucalyptus near the Elk entrance. The reports are HERE and HERE, including photographs and links to video. We will continue to report on this. Initially, we expect 57 or 58 trees to be removed. Other projects in the next year or two will take out hundreds more. Go here for a video update six
threemonths into the Glen Canyon Park Demolition.
UPDATE: This video at nine months shows the devastation around the Rec Center. All the gnarly acacia trees – including the children’s climbing tree – are gone.
UPDATE: The next, more welcome, phase of the renovation of the actual Rec Center is now in planning. Details are HERE.
UPDATE: The Trails project (cutting down 31
30trees) started in September 2013. HERE is an example of what’s happening there.
UPDATE: Over 100 trees are gone. Staircases have been embedded all over the hillside. But at least the Great Horned Owls, which didn’t breed there for two years, are back. Photographs HERE.
Major changes are coming to Glen Canyon Park, funded by San Francisco’s 2008 Parks Bond. Many of these are necessary improvements, such as safe and accessible restrooms. But these changes will cost the canyon between 300 and 500 trees, and alter its wild land character forever.
The felling could start as soon as October 15, 2012 January or February 2013 since the appeals process has been exhausted. The tree-felling started on January 10th 2013, with the line of century-old eucalyptus trees at the Elk Street entrance to the Park.
[Edited to summarize the earlier information: An appeal filed by a neighbor suspended activity until a hearing before the Board of Appeals; which was denied. The denial was appealed, but then the appeal was withdrawn because another organization filed a separate appeal to the Board of Supervisors, under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). That appeal was ruled Untimely, leaving legal action as the only other possibility. The appellant decided against pursuing legal action, leaving the way open to SFRPD to continue.]
STOP KILLING HEALTHY TREES
In reality, almost none of the trees slated for removal in Glen Canyon has been evaluated as hazardous. In fact, money is being wasted on healthy trees that pose no threat and most people enjoy their sheer size and beauty.
We recently discovered that the Rec Center Capital Project bid packet includes specifications to remove almost all trees around and behind the Rec Center, even though most have nothing to do with relocating the tennis courts.
San Francisco Forest Alliance is asking SF Recreations and Parks Department to modify the plans and save the trees.
A PATTERN OF DESTRUCTION
There is a disturbing pattern wherein the historic Glen Canyon forest, like other city park forests, are being continually laid bare, bit by bit, in one project after another. For Glen Canyon, this is what we’ve seen and expect in the future:
- Rec Center Capital Project – 2008 Bond (Fall 2012):
- Forestry Capital Project – 2008 Bond (Fall 2012):
- Trail Restoration Capital Project – 2008 Bond (Fall 2012):
- SNRAMP Large, Healthy Tree Removal Proposal (2013): 120 trees
- SNRAMP Young Tree Thinning Proposal (already occurring): unknown number
- Willows (native) for daylighting creek (already occurring): unknown number
- Documented Past NAP Creek Projects (2008): 24 trees
That’s a total of
404++ nearly 300 trees!
In addition, there are reports of trees cut before 2012 (including evidence such as stumps) of around 100 trees.
Rec & Park has hired a contractor to begin the relocation of tennis courts and renovation of the playground, ball park and rec center. This will immediately involve cutting
68-70 trees 58 trees.
[Edited to add: SFRPD has changed the number of trees projected to be cut; in a new report dated Oct 1, the arborist substantially reduced the number of trees recommended for removal. You can read about that HERE- Glen Canyon Park: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.]
NO GOOD ANSWERS
Over the past year, Rec & Park and their consultant have given numerous public presentations about the “hazardous” tree assessment funded by the 2008 Parks Bond (which we support).
Through the process of the community meetings, neighbors were assured that only 10-11 trees would be cut down. This is the entire stand of eucalyptus in the picture below. The objective was to relocate the tennis courts to make way for a grand new entrance.
We are seeing a distressing pattern of communication about projects in San Francisco. Although preserving trees is extremely important to the public, they are seldom informed of how may trees the project will actually cost until it’s about to bid out – or later.
In the case of Glen Canyon,on 28 June 2012 – after the community input phase was over – Dennis Kern said that a total of 101 trees would be removed: 69 for the Recreation Center Project, and an additional 32 for the trails project. At the August 16th Parks Commission hearing, he said that 70 trees would be cut down: 10 because they were in the way of the project, 60 because they were “hazardous.” But… were they?
A CONTRACT OUT ON THESE TREES
We obtained, under the Sunshine Act, an evaluation made by SF RPD’s hired arborist, Hort Science. We mapped the trees in the bid contract papers to the Hort Science report. How many trees in the 70 were hazardous?
Another ten – the trees in the picture above – were being felled because they were impacted by the project. Around 14 were dead or dying (but not considered hazardous – and dead trees are important for wildlife, including one of Glen Canyon’s natural bee-hives).
The remainder were being removed because of “poor suitability” – a grab-bag of reasons including being too big, of the wrong species, or “invasive.”
In this Rec Center project map, we have attempted to consolidate the Bid document map with the arborist’s report to show how many trees are actually being removed and the reasons why — which have very little to do with safety.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1) Write or email the Parks Commission through the Secretary to Park Commissioners, Margaret McArthur.
- Email: email@example.com,
- Phone: (415) 831-2750
The Commissioners: Mark Buell, President; Tom Harrison, Vice President; Paige Arata; Gloria Bonilla; David E. Lee; Meagan Levitan; Larry Martin.
2) Write to Supervisor Scott Wiener. (Glen Canyon is in his District 8.)
- (415) 554-6968 – Voice;
- (415) 554-6909 – Fax;
- email: Scott.Wiener@sfgov.org
3) Write to Mayor Ed Lee (who incidentally lives near Glen Canyon).
- Mayor’s Office, City Hall, Room 200; 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place; San Francisco, CA 94102
- Telephone: (415) 554-6141
- Fax: (415) 554-6160
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4) Write to Dawn Kamalanathan and Karen Mauney-Brodek of the SFRPD’s Capital & Planning Division regarding the trees to be felled for the Capital projects (recreation areas, trails).
- Telephone: (415) 575-5601.
SIGN A PETITION TO STOP THE DEFORESTATION!
Clicking on the button below will take you to the petition. Please read it and sign it!
[Edited to Add: Confusingly, there are two nearly-identical petitions out there – we had an administrative glitch. One had over 2,000 signatures as of 6 October 2012, the other over 650. This link is to the one with the smaller number.]