By Susan Sutton
Enduring intermittent rain, about 30 people from various San Francisco neighborhoods gathered at Bosworth and Elk streets on Thursday evening to protest the impending destruction of trees in Glen Canyon as part of the Recreation and Parks Department’s improvement plan.
During the hour and a half demonstration, which began at 5:00 p.m., several cars honked at the protesters, presumably in support, and passengers on MUNI’s 44 O’Shaughnessey waved or gave a thumbs up.
Among those bundled up against the weather, and taking shelter under nearby trees, was Girl Scout Sophia Manodori, age 9. The 4th grader at Gratton Elementary School came with her grandmother, Annamaria Manodori, from her Mission District home to voice her opposition to tearing down trees that are not diseased, dying or dead.
“It’s awful. It’s perfect how it is,” Sophia said.
Her grandmother concurred. “It doesn’t make any sense to tamper with what’s natural and make it unnatural,” Manodori said.
Eric Miller, President of San Francisco Forest Alliance, was pleased with the turn-out considering they had to compete with the weather, vice presidential candidates’ debate and the MLB playoffs. Calling the felling of healthy trees a “hit to the character of the park,” Miller said the peaceful protest was organized to “bring awareness to what’s happening in the park. We need to get the word out.”
According to a blog written by SF Recreation and Parks spokeswoman Karen Mauney-Brodek, approximately 58 trees will be removed and 163 planted to replace those. The Oct. 5 blog entry reads, “As part of all capital projects, an independent arborist assessed the health and condition of trees in the area and found many to be in poor or hazardous condition.”
Members of the protest group, however, say that number is closer to 100 trees, maybe more. With more than 2,700 signatures on a petition to halt– or at least place
further scrutiny on the decision of which trees will stay and which will go–the
plan to tear down designated trees is moving forward, with removals scheduled
for next week. Miller hopes to not only save viable trees in Glen Canyon, but all over the
“Our parks belong to all San Franciscans,” he said. “Including this one.”
The San Francisco Forest Alliance has posted a summary of a community meeting it held on Oct. 6 here.