Marpe Requests Longshore Tree Removal Delay

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe issued the following statement today:

I have asked for a temporary delay in the removal of 15 trees along the entrance to Longshore Club Park.

Since this is a new issue for me and my administration, Westport tree warden Bruce Lindsay will prepare for my review a written report outlining his analysis and confirming his recommendation that the trees be removed.

I have the utmost confidence in, and respect for, Mr. Lindsay, who recently came to Westport with excellent credentials in this field. However, in view of the importance of this issue and the discussion which it has generated, I have requested that Mr. Lindsay temporarily delay the tree removal and to prepare this report.

Upon receipt and analysis of the report, which of course will be shared with the public, I will determine the appropriate next steps. It is anticipated that a public meeting will be held to review the Tree Warden’s analysis and recommendations.

I should note that the Longshore trees have been the topic of much analysis and planning by the Town for many years.  Twenty years ago, new trees were planted by the Parks and Recreation Department in anticipation of the replacement need.  There are now approximately 75 younger and healthier trees lining the Longshore entrance.  Most recently, in September 2013, Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy brought this matter to the Parks and Recreation Commission, which had a public meeting to discuss the need for the tree removal.

I look forward to receiving Mr. Lindsay’s report soon and sharing it with the public.

Longshore trees tagged for removal along the entrance road.

Longshore trees tagged for removal along the entrance road.

14 responses to “Marpe Requests Longshore Tree Removal Delay

  1. Matthew Mandell

    Good Call. Let the info be public and make sure everyone is on the same page. If the trees can be kept going, then lets do that. If their time has come, then lets make sure we have a plan for the future.

    What I think is best about what has occurred here is that the postings on the trees did their job. People saw them and piped up. Now we can all have a conversation about what will happen.

  2. Nathaniel Martin

    What are they doing with the wood? There was a post a few weeks ago about finding a fitting second use for all that special lumber.

  3. Thank you Mr Marpe for thinking this through and asking for more information before taking action. Westport residents and visitors also enjoy the Longshore entrance for it’s beauty. I am soon to be a young 70, born and raised here. There are others like me who presumed the trees to be a permanent fixture not really thinking about the life of trees but only the pleasure they bring when full of green and bright colored leaves and finally a dusting of snow. Looking forward to your report.

  4. A most sensible decision Mr. Marpe. If you take this approach with all other
    issues Westport will be in good hands.

  5. I’m glad that the tree issue will be thoroughly explored before decisions are made. Congrats to 06880 site for alerting everyone. It’s important to be realistic-and thoughtful about preservation whenever possible. Part of what made growing up in Westport so special was the beautiful landscapes surrounding us.

  6. robert fatherley

    Hooray for Jim Marpe for taking time out to rethink impulsive decisions by others. I still mourn the loss of trees along Main Street in the center of Westport….the lights strung across the road do not quite make the same impression.  Love the boat on the river with the tree decorated with lights.  

    Imagination can do amazing things and to those who use it  well I say many thanks…it makes life unique…. Julie Fatherley

  7. Thank you Selectman Marpe, this seems like an appropriate step. It distressed me to see members of the Tree Board, who are simply volunteers, left to twist in the wind for what seemed like an awful long time.

    As an aside, if it turns out that some of those Tulip trees at Longshore indeed need to come down, it might be worth exploring the idea of recycling them by milling the wood. Tulip carves and turns nicely – many 18th and 19th century beds were made of it – and it would be fine for casings and all kinds of interior work. I would personally much rather buy wood with a local connection to the past than see it consigned to a landfill – maybe others feel this way too . Perhaps certain other town-owned trees that still have more to give after they come to the end of their useful lives (walnut, maple, oak, etc.) could be handled in this manner as part of a broader stewardship program.

  8. Thanks to Jim Marpe for making this sensible and resident-sensitive decision. The tree study was done some time ago and the proposed plan is new to most Westporters. Good suggestions have been made here and elsewhere; now we’ll all have time to consider the facts and different options thoughtfully. Thanks also to Dan for providing the conversation impetus and venue.

  9. I had a tree removed last year and the guy told me that residential trees have no commercial value except firewood. The mills don’t want them since if they have 1 nail in them it will break their saw blade. I think Joe Palmieri from CT Tank Removal has a portable mill of some kind. He was building a barn with local wood in Easton.

  10. Nathaniel Martin

    It is not the case that yard trees have no value. The answer is, it depends. My neighbor has what would be considered an old growth walnut that would never have gotten that big in the forest. It’s priceless where it is, but if it had to come down it’d be worth thousands. Some trees aren’t worth anything, such as pines or ones with rotten centers. Tulips (such as at longshore) are sold as poplar lumber, which is an inexpensive wood. If those maples are Norway maples, an invasive species, they’re also only fit to burn as firewood. If they’re hard maple, and aren’t rotten in the middle, they’re certainly worth milling. These trees probably are not worth a lumber company’s time, but I’d love to mill a few of them. A tree company might tell you your tree isn’t worth anything, because it’s easier to throw it away. Or because they don’t know what it’s worth themselves. Some do, and keep and resell their clients trees without telling them (and charge them for disposal too!).

    I know someone with a portable bandsaw that tows behind a pickup (called a woodmizer) that could come and mill the logs. I’ve done this several times with westport maples, hickories, beeches and even an apple tree. You use a metal detector (like the wands at the airport) to check for metal but if you hit something then you just resharpen the blade. No big deal. If these trees have to come down, which is not a foregone conclusion, then the best ones should certainly be milled. If I can get enough lumber out it, I’d certainly love to make a bench for longshore.

  11. If these trees have to come down later, please respect them. These trees are older than your great grandparents. Divide up the wood with love in Westport, and have nice fires amongst friends, family, and others you deem worthy to warm themselves with these magestic and historical trees. Bring these trees down only when it is absolutely necessery. Please understand. – Gary

  12. A new fresh wind is upon us in Westport. Jim MARPE elected by the people is responding to support the people. Way to go Jim!!!!

  13. A Westport neighbor of mine was kind enough to give me a slab of Black Walnut from a 110 year old tree in his yard that he had to take down recently. He had it milled locally – and then proceeded to build wonderful built-ins, shelves, benches and the like. The piece he gave me was nearly 2 feet wide, 8 feet long and 2 inches thick; an utter force of nature complete with its own gravity field. After working it for what seemed a semi-eternity, I sanded it with 600 grit paper, gave it a lustrous, hand rubbed oil finish and made it the centerpiece of a built-in library. On the underside of the slab, hidden by the surrounding cabinetry, the tree’s age and origin are carefully recorded. Of course, one will likely ever see this information but the reverence I developed for the tree and the joy it provides on a daily basis made the gesture one of necessity.