An email by Sup. Scott Weiner about notices that have been circulating in the neighborhood of late.
In the past week, I’ve received a number of emails from constituents concerned about tree removal in Glen Canyon in connection with the upcoming project to upgrade and make changes to recreational facilities in the area of Glen Canyon near Elk and Chenery. I’m sending this response to each of those constituents.
Let me begin by saying that I’m a huge fan of Glen Canyon. I wouldn’t exactly call it a hidden gem, but it’s amazing to me how many people have never been there. I guess that’s a bonus for those of us who do go there and get to experience the canyon’s majesty.
As you also may know, I’ve taken a particular interest in trees. Our urban forest — including both street trees and park trees — is one of our greatest assets. It gives us beauty, shade, and a cleaner environment in our otherwise urban city. I’ll be holding a hearing soon (probably later this month or possibly in November) on the recently completed Urban Forest Master Plan. I’m very focused on finding sustainable funding for street trees (so that DPW can take over maintenance responsibilities rather than forcing property owners to do so) and park trees. This is a passion for me, because I truly do understand the importance of trees in our city and our lives.
So, I do take seriously the concerns I’ve heard about removal of trees in Glen Canyon. I also know that sometimes tree removal is appropriate in forest management. Everyone agrees that hazardous trees should be removed if they cannot be made safe. And, this portion of the canyon is the active recreational portion of the canyon, with a rec center, playground, tennis courts, and play fields. There are times when trees need to be removed to re-work recreational areas. I’m very optimistic about the future of this area of the park, with the current project for the tennis courts and playground and (if Prop B passes) the complete rehabilitation of the dilapidated rec center. I would also love to address the irrigation system problems at the playing field.
In discussing this issue, I believe it’s important that everyone have complete and accurate information. That’s why, in June, I worked with the Glen Park Association and Diamond Heights Community Association to convene a large community meeting with presentations by Rec & Park, the Forest Alliance, and others. Discussion and dialogue is the best way to ensure that everyone receives accurate information. People then can form their opinions.
Unfortunately, there does appear to be inaccurate information circulating in the community. For example, several people have asked me why “most” of the trees in Glen Canyon are being removed. That’s not accurate, since the trees being removed — whether you support the removal or not — constitute a tiny percentage of the total trees in the canyon and for each tree removed several new trees will be planted. The word “deforestation” is also repeatedly used, which is an overstatement. Whatever one’s position on the currently planned project — and I respect those who don’t want the trees removed — it’s not deforestation, which connotes clear-cutting. As we move forward with this debate, I think it’s important for accurate terminology to be used. Otherwise, it’s hard to have a good debate.
In terms of the project at hand, that project resulted from a fairly extensive community process, with numerous meetings over a number of months. Community input was received every step of the way, and my office participated in the community process. It was a good one. The project was then approved by the Rec & Park Commission, after a public hearing. The project doesn’t require Board of Supervisors approval.
One other thing to note. The broader Natural Areas Plan (NAP) will likely be coming to the Board of Supervisors next year. We will hear and decide that appeal at that time. The issue here is not the broader NAP issue. Rather it’s an issue specific to the project around the tennis courts and rec center.
Thanks for caring about our beautiful canyon.
Supervisor, District 8
To read or subscribe to my monthly newsletter or to follow me on Facebook or Twitter, go to www.scottwiener.com.
What’s been posted at the canyon: