Logging Van Horn Park


Sometimes it is hard for me to write this blog without crying.

On walks from Friday, February 22 through Friday, March 1, the city of Springfield assigned men, trucks, power saws, and chippers to punish  Van Horn Park.

Healthy tree cut down.

Healthy tree in wooded park cut down by city.

There are legitimate reasons to cut trees: (1) if they are public hazards,  (2) if they are invasive species compromising native growth (part of an environmental restoration plan), and… well that’s it. I can’t think of another one.

As a near daily park visitor, – I knew of ONE… only ONE dead trunk   doomed to fall across the asphalt. It wasn’t this one:

Another healthy tree felled.

Another healthy tree felled.

It wasn’t this one either: 

Large tree felled  - well off the park road

Large tree felled – well off the park road – to what purpose?

In a small wooded park, still recovering from 2010 storm damage, the Springfield parks department seemed bent on crushing what nature remains over a week of full work days (I encountered crew idle, presumably, eating lunch).

Perhaps, the parks department needed to waste a large amount of money in order to justify an equal or greater amount allotment for the next budget period. It’s that time of year here.

The Greenwood schoolyard is on the park’s edge. I think of the children  who sucked diesel fumes into their lungs at recess, instead of fresh air all week. Children who suffered the ear-splitting whine of chainsaws, unable to hear birdsong. Children who watched grownups with machines destroy life-sustaining habitat. — I wonder what lesson they took from that.

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5 thoughts on “Logging Van Horn Park

  1. I know how you feel. When I lived in my townhouse in Middletown, MD the local “overseers” had a mindset to pave everything. There was a perfectly good gravel road into a small park where I saw groundhogs, rabbits, and foxes. In their infinite wisdom, the city council put in swing sets, ball fields, a basketball court, and two parking lots. They blocked off the old road and put in a new paved road. Within one year, the groundhogs, rabbits, and foxes were all gone.

  2. What a heartbreak, – especially when there is no better place for children to play than in nature. Half of Van Horn is playing fields, playground and paved ball courts. The wooded area edges the pond. A neighbor who’s lived here longer than me related that the decision to close the park to vehicles was made, – but instead of making a walking path, the city paved with fresh asphalt.

  3. It is true that the hikes I take often I know every tree; I know their current health, and I know what they have to say about how we are caring for them. It is hard enough to see these friends lost in storms, human devastation is so much harder since it is so avoidable.

    • Thanks for your comment, Charlie. It is difficult to bear witness to the willful destruction of the natural world – especially by those charged with its upkeep here in the Springfield, MA where we have a self-described “green mayor.” — By the way, you have a terrific website at SeattleTrekker.com, which I look forward to following, and think other readers will enjoy, too. Spring wishes!

  4. Pingback: Missing Chipmunks | A Walk in the Park

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