NEVADA CITY, Calif. August 28, 2020 – Sometime in the 1700’s a Ponderosa Pine sprouted on the knoll above what is now the St. Canice cemetery which at that time was a winter village for the Nisenan. That pine was joined over the years by native trees along with red maples and lindens planted by miners/settlers who brought them from the east. For almost 300 years these trees and others have provided our town beauty, shade, refuge, and O2. It will take another 300 years for newly planted trees to reach that stature and who knows what life, if any, will be here then.
PG&E would like to remove many of our heritage trees stating as reasons fire safety and the prevention of blackouts when the inevitable shutoffs come. They’ll take what they can now, and likely will be back in a year or two with more requests. It’’s realistic to think that if a fire ever did rush into town the absence of these particular trees would not stop it, nor can PG&E make with certainty the claim that there will be no blackouts if the trees are removed. They might try to make the case that these trees are old anyhow and their lifetime limited, but most of these trees are in good health. Sound forest management requires some thinning – the removal of 252 trees within city limits, many of which are heritage trees, is excessive and unnecessary.
No doubt the bottom line for PG&E is cost and what it hopes will be a release from further liability for faulty lines Taking down an entire tree might save PG&E a few dollars(maybe, maybe not) but what is the benefit to Nevada City? Limbs can be trimmed to create the safety zone PG&E needs. Better yet, underground power would be the optimal solution.
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On August 20, 2020, the Nevada City Planning Commission reviewed the permit from PG&E to remove trees. The commission was not amenable to this idea and the PG&E spokesperson stated that it did not really need the city’s permission. There will be a special meeting of the planning commission on September 1, 2020 to continue this discussion. The meeting can be viewed on zoom at the City’s website or on the youtube channel. There’s a petition on FB at Save The Trees Nevada City. Your emails to the city will be read into public comments.
It’s hard to estimate how many trees have tragically burned in the fires in California. No doubt the number is in the millions, which makes all living trees even more precious and essential to our survival. They should not be cut down for convenience.
There’s so much to value in our town; the mountain setting, our inventory of old houses, and not to be discounted is our gorgeous treescape, a mix of mature conifer and deciduous trees unique to this particular elevation. Save our trees.