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Warwick trees win reprieve

  • Recorder/David Rainville<br/>More than 800 trees have been flagged for cutting on Warwick's Gale Road. Orange bands were placed on about 695 trees, marking them for a possible cut. Most of them were granted a reprieve after residents placed yellow ribbons on more than 650 they wanted to save.

    Recorder/David Rainville
    More than 800 trees have been flagged for cutting on Warwick's Gale Road. Orange bands were placed on about 695 trees, marking them for a possible cut. Most of them were granted a reprieve after residents placed yellow ribbons on more than 650 they wanted to save.

  • Recorder/David Rainville<br/>More than 800 trees have been flagged for cutting on Warwick's Gale Road. Orange bands were placed on about 695 trees, marking them for a possible cut. Most of them were granted a reprieve after residents placed yellow ribbons on more than 650 they wanted to save.

    Recorder/David Rainville
    More than 800 trees have been flagged for cutting on Warwick's Gale Road. Orange bands were placed on about 695 trees, marking them for a possible cut. Most of them were granted a reprieve after residents placed yellow ribbons on more than 650 they wanted to save.

  • Recorder/David Rainville<br/>More than 800 trees have been flagged for cutting on Warwick's Gale Road. Orange bands were placed on about 695 trees, marking them for a possible cut. Most of them were granted a reprieve after residents placed yellow ribbons on more than 650 they wanted to save.
  • Recorder/David Rainville<br/>More than 800 trees have been flagged for cutting on Warwick's Gale Road. Orange bands were placed on about 695 trees, marking them for a possible cut. Most of them were granted a reprieve after residents placed yellow ribbons on more than 650 they wanted to save.

WARWICK — The trees along Gale Road are showing all the colors of fall, with bright yellows, blazing orange and ... electric blue?

The colors aren’t in the foliage — many of the 816 or so trees on the narrow back road are evergreens — but rather, tied around the tree trunks.

These trees, as well as fewer on Kirk, Chestnut Hill and West Wilson roads, were flagged for possible removal, and were the subject of a well-attended tree hearing Wednesday night. About 20 residents, landowners and others came out to have their say, and most of the focus was on scenic Gale Road.

The trees were on the chopping block because they were deemed likely to come down during a storm, and end up in the road or on utility lines.

In the end, the 121 trees that were banded blue will be cut down, since they’re dead or diseased, but most of the 695 wearing orange ribbons will see a stay of execution.

After the trees were flagged last month, residents, landowners and groups like the Open Space Committee, Conservation Commission and Mount Grace Land Trust picked up rolls of yellow tape and set to work.

They tied their tape around trees they wanted to save, and there were a lot of them. Tree Warden Dana Songer said that only 25 of the orange-flagged trees didn’t have one or more yellow ribbons added to them.

Several at the hearing said they objected to the cutting because they felt it would ruin the scenic road with its closed canopy of tree cover overhead.

Others were concerned about the effect such a scale of tree removal would have on local wildlife and the many wetlands nearby.

Highway Superintendent Timothy Kilhart said many of the roadside trees are a safety concern, apt to come down or drop limbs in high winds or under heavy snow and ice. He also said that thinning the roadside cover would allow more light in, drying up muddy roads and melting winter snow.

He was also concerned about possible damage to plow and sanding vehicles due to downed trees and limbs. If his trucks are out of service because they’re hung up on Gale Road, Kilhart said, he can’t plow and sand the rest of the town.

Pat Vandenberg, who lives on the southern end of Gale Road, said she’d like to see some cutting along her road.

“I’ve lived on Gale Road for 38 years, and I’ve seen a lot of trees fall,” she said. “It’s very dangerous; I agree that there’s a safety issue.”

Vandenberg said she, too, likes the scenery of her road, and chose to live there because of its rural, wooded nature. However, she fears that falling trees could block her road, take out power or worse.

“Some of the trees out there scare me to death; I’m afraid they’ll come down on my house,” she said, adding that her house had been damaged by falling trees in the past.

In the end, the Selectboard and Planning Board voted to go ahead with planned cutting on Kirk, Chestnut Hill and West Wilson roads, and take down only the blue-banded and non-contested trees on Gale Road.

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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