The reservoir's historic structures & ecosystems are an opportunity to create a unique environmental education center for our children & their future.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Arborcide in Inwood Hill Park

On March 16th the "New York Daily News" published an article about trees in Inwood Hill Park. Apparently, someone had gone into the forest with an axe and illegally, chopped down a stand of cedar trees. It was a despicable act that really made me angry, but like many people, 24 hours after reading the article, I had all but forgotten about the incident. When the following letter to the editor was posted, it gave me pause to think:

She speaks for the trees


Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe blames a "serial tree killer" for chopping down 30 cedars at Inwood Hill Park. Benepe is responsible for felling 11 mature trees in Washington Square Park as part of a redesign. He proposes to kill 14 trees in Union Square Park to make room for a restaurant. Thousands of trees are scheduled to die at Ridgewood Reservoir/Highland Park when the city puts in artificial turf. This makes me wonder: Who determines who is a "serial tree killer"?

Cathryn Swan

Ms. Swan's comments made me think about Commissioner Benepe's competence with regard to his legal obligations as commissioner of parks. The New York City Chart, Chapter 21 (Department of Parks and Recreation), Section 533, subdivision a-4 begins with, "to plant and maintain trees". In the same subdivision, under a-10, includes the sentence, "to plan, conduct, supervise, coordinate and promote conservation, environmental, and nature education programs and research and demonstration projects relating thereto and to plan, acquire, design, construct, improve, alter, maintain and manage areas and facilities for conservation and the preservation of natural beauty." The next section, a-11, begins, "to plan, plant and maintain trees and other plantings." In addition to these obvious responsibilities is the commissioner's oversight of The City of New York Parks & Recreation, Natural Resources Group. According the the city's website, "the Natural Resources Group is responsible for the acquisition, protection, restoration, and management of remnant and restored natural areas within the 28,000 acres of City parkland." I imagine that it must be very difficult to carry out that mission when it appears that your boss has little regard for trees in New York City.

More about this later.

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