It seems that my town has gone completely chainsaw-crazy this summer. Trees are being cut down everywhere. The high-pitched revving of the chainsaw and the accompanying rumble of the wood-chipper are the sounds of the season. Every morning by 9 a.m., I can hear them start up somewhere around town.
While I understand the need to cut down dead and diseased trees to avoid potential injury and damage to power lines, I have trouble believing that cutting down trees to this extent is really necessary.
When my husband and I bought our home three years ago, there was a row of four magnificent pine trees stretching down our street – one in front of our home, one on the lot beside, and two in front of the house next to the lot. Within months, the tree next to ours was cut down because that’s where our future neighbour wanted to put in a driveway. Then the neighbour two doors down cut off half the branches on her pine tree to improve access to her building site. Now it looks like a botched shaving job. This morning, I came home to discover that the fourth tree is being demolished. Our pine remains the sole intact tree.
Neighbours across the street just took down a magnificent old maple last week. While my son played at the playground yesterday, we watched yet another mature maple come crashing down. And all the trees on the outside of the chain link fence around my older son’s schoolyard have been cut down. Why? Liability reasons, I was told. When I asked if the Town was planning to replace the ones they cut, they said no – and seemed surprised at such a question.
Every time I see a tree cut down, I want to cry. It affects me intensely. Don’t people realize that trees are one of our greatest assets? Trees clean the air, cool the temperature, shade our homes, and reduce our dependency on A/C in the summer. They protect this town from the battering winter storms that come off Lake Huron. They hold moisture in the sandy soil, which means less wasteful watering. Trees are Nature’s playmate for curious children, offering branches to climb, leaves to jump in, sticks to wield, and shade to rest.
Last but not least, trees beautify and improve property values, which surely is something that even the town council can relate to. Houses built on bare patches of dirt are a dime a dozen, but homes on lots with mature trees? Those are rare, precious, and always expensive.
Few people, least of all myself, want to live in a town that’s bereft of trees. I really wish people would think long and hard before taking a chainsaw to their trees, and do so only if absolutely necessary. If only the Town would implement mandatory replanting policies because, with a bit of extra effort and incentive, this town could be spectacularly green and leafy in a few years, and everyone would benefit from that.