Museum & Pollinator Habitats
The loss of all of our White Ash trees to the Emerald Ash Borer was a huge tragedy. To waste millions of dollars cutting down the trees as they died was a tragedy in its own right.
To date, Great Parks has cut down over 6000 ash trees at a claimed cost of $500 - $1200 per tree. In their Ten Year Capital Needs Plan that began in 2017, and runs through 2026, they budget $2,950,000 for tree cutting. In a May 2013 news article, director Jack Sutton states that $450,000 is budgeted for ash tree removal. I'm guessing he meant for that year alone. ??? The latest information I can find on their website states that over 6000 trees have been cut down to date. Even at the low number of $500 per tree, that would amount to over $3,000,000, with another $2,950,000 budgeted from 2017-2026. Also, notice in the article where he talks about "tree removal and cleanup" . All I see is where the trees have been cut and left laying on the forest floor. ???
Have there been any reports of even one person being injured or killed by a falling ash tree in Ohio over the past ten years? And I seriously doubt that all city, county, state, or private parks and nature preserves in Ohio have cut down their ash trees.
In that same May 2013 article, director Jack Sutton claims that lumber from the cut trees was provided to Cincinnati Public Schools for flooring and furniture. Did that really happen. Kudos to them if iot did. He also states that they tried selling the timber, but that that markets were saturated. Strange, because I contacted a few saw mills and lumber companies, and they told me they would have gladly paid to come and harvest the trees. Mind you that many of the cut trees could have been removed with very minor impact to the surrounding environment, while millions of dollars saved could have been used to remove invasive bush honeysuckle from the forests, which would have had a dramatic improvement on the environment. Be sure to click on the links to view the article.
Now here is what they should have done at the very least. First, they should have tried much harder to contract out the timber (it sounds like they were only trying to sell what they were cutting down themselves . . . makes more sense to find someone who will pay you to cut the tree themselves, or at least do it for free).
Second, many of the trees that they did cut down should have been cut down higher off the ground. A ten foot high stump fifteen feet from a trail poses zero threat to anyone, provided the diameter is at least 24 inches. A large tree that is at least fifty feet or more from a trail could have been cut at least twenty feet off the ground, maybe higher.
This would have left crucial habitat for woodpeckers, owls, and other wildlife beyond the beetles and fungi that benefit from a tree that lays on the forest floor. All I am saying is that they could have saved a ton of money, and saved a lot more valuable habitat than what they have. With over 6000 trees cut (and I've seen a lot of them), a large safe percentage of them could have been cut higher off the ground.