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100 Year Old Grove of Trees Gone

Irish funeral for trees planned

Date:   1/23/2006 6:25:36 PM   ( 8 y ) ... viewed 2007 times

Within the past week, a majestic grove of 100-year-old trees was cut down in our county. If there was any prior notice that this would be happening, nobody I've spoken to was aware of it. These were beautiful trees, and were an integral part of a pleasant country drive for so many people. Owls and other creatures made their homes in these trees. I could go on and on, but instead I'm quoting the article from our local paper with appropriate credits for the reporter:

))))))))))))))

"Funeral for trees

Boulder woman plans 'Irish Funeral Party' for cottonwoods

By Christine Reid, Camera Staff Writer
January 21, 2006

Catherine Harley was driving back into Boulder last weekend from Lafayette when she reached the intersection of 75th and Arapahoe streets and lost her breath.

The grove of large cottonwood trees lining the road she had become accustomed to seeing — even searching their branches for bald eagles and raptors — had been cut down to stumps the size of pianos.

"I ended up crying the whole rest of the day," said Harley, 43.

She returned that night and apologized to the trees, but the grief didn't go away. And so Harley decided to throw the trees a funeral.

"I don't care if I look like a weirdo," Harley said. "We can't just not acknowledge this wasn't here."

Last week, crews with chainsaws began taking down about 30 trees planted sometime in the late 1800s in preparation for the state's expansion of the busy intersection.

"They were very close to the end of their life cycle, which is not an excuse for cutting them down," said Bill Aldorfer, project manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation. "Taking down old growth like this isn't easy on anyone."

Bob Condon is taking it especially hard. His family's home used to be guarded by the trees, and he said not having them makes his house "less pleasant to be in."

"It's not the way we would have liked to have seen it, but it's the way it is," said Condon, 58.

Condon said the trees were most likely planted by Boulder County's first judge, Peter Housel, who sold the property just before the turn of the 20th century to Condon's family.

The trees not only provided shelter for the two-story farmhouse, they leant their name to the family business "Cottonwood Farms," which opens a pumpkin patch each fall.

One tree was known by the family as the "owl tree" because it had baby owls in it almost every year, Condon said.

"We had always hoped that it wouldn't come to this, but the growth is a big factor," he said. "You have a lot of people working and doing business in Boulder, and there's no room in Boulder, so they have to live other places and that creates traffic in-between.

"It's still kind of hard to believe. You look out there — look out the window — and it looks different. It's still kind of a shock."

Crews charged with taking down the mammoth trees contracted by the state are expected to be done by Feb. 1. And the new $3.8 million intersection complete with additional turning lanes is supposed to be finished by late summer.

The plan to take down the trees was finalized two years ago, according Barbara Halpin, Boulder County spokeswoman. She said commissioners at the time discussed their reluctance to lose the trees, but the decision was ultimately in the state's hands.

"We looked at various alignments of that intersection — and the reason we went with removal of trees is because the others would have impacted historical features," said Mindy Crane, Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman, noting the City on the Hill Church at the northeast corner of the intersection.

Crane said before the plan was picked, environmental impacts in the area were studied.

"We did take (the trees) into consideration," Crane said. "They would be dead soon, anyway."

about the event:

WHY:• To pay respects to the trees cut down at 75th and Arapahoe streets.

WHEN:• 1 p.m. to midnight, Jan. 28

WHERE:• Event already occurred

BRING:• Event already occurred

INFO:• Event already occurred



Copyright 2006, The Daily Camera. All Rights Reserved."

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