By Murray Schneider
A fallen limb from a eucalyptus tree greeted Friends of Glen Canyon volunteers and their supervising gardener, Rachel Kesel, Wednesday morning as they prepared to begin a round of weekly tasks. During the night the limb had separated from the trunk of a towering gum tree, one of its branches now lying along Alms Road as joggers and dog walkers passed.
“Someone can trip over it,” said Kesel, as she fished a cell phone from her pocket and placed a call to Lisa Wayne, the NAP manager and her supervisor.
Serrated tree limbs plummeting on unsuspecting day trippers are dangersous, she says. NAP stewards make a routine habit of surveying canyon willow and eucalyptus trees that can pose a threat to hikers, and the jagged branch that now hung over a retaining wall just yards from Glenridge Cooperative Nursery School was not to be trifled with.
“Lisa wants to circle the limb with caution tape,” said Kesel. She stepped to her truck but didn’t find any and directed a volunteer to head back to the Recreation Center and get some from Oskar Rosas, the gym director.
“What do you think,” said volunteer Steve Uchida, a retired postal worker. “A hand saw?”
Kesel shook her head, as she rounded the tree with yellow caution tape. With a schooled eye, she estimated the height where the amputated limb had cracked off.
“I don’t think so,” she said. “This is beyond my skill set. We’ll need tree trimmers.”
When the limb was finally secured with yellow tape, Kesel and her volunteer crew gathered mattocks and headed off to Coyote Cave a ways off to do battle with Ehrharta, a mat forming perennial grass that originated in South Africa and forms thick underground root mats that exclude native plants.
Taking his first step along Willow Loop Trail, Uchida looked over his shoulder at the limb.
“High traffic area,” he said. “Someone would have messed with it.”