Protest against tree cutting in Glen Canyon

Photo Steven Labovsky.

Photo Steven Labovsky

Photo Steven Labovsky

Photo Steven Labovsky.

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

city .

“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.


Filed under Uncategorized

10 responses to “Protest against tree cutting in Glen Canyon

  1. Sally Ross

    These very well meaning folks are actually opposing what amounts to good forest management practices. Just last week, 2 old trees came down on their own. This is not a good way to manage trees in an urban setting. It is only proper to remove old, damaged, and diseased trees, and replace them with young trees. Such action can hardly be considered deforestation. It is done for the safety and well being of all who enjoy the park.

  2. Mike Tonews

    There’s no argument that tending to hazardous trees is a good thing, but 400 healthy trees are slated to be cut down. That’s not good forest management practice, that’s deforestation.

    • Eileen

      Mike, where do you get the 400 number? By all accounts I’ve heard, the number of trees slated to come down for the Rec Center project is 58, and 163 will be planted to (more than) replace them. And where do you get the info that these trees are healthy? Two of them fell a couple of weeks ago. It seems to me there’s a lot of misinformation flying around.

  3. There were about 30-35 people present; whether that’s a small group or a large one depends on viewpoint. There was a lot of support from passing cars – and even buses. You can read a different account of it here:

  4. Dee

    Those protesters do not have a leg to stand on. Invasive plants like eucalyptus are harmful to ecosystems and watersheds and, thus, have no place in our city’s Significant Natural Resource Areas. I understand the argument that raptors use tall trees. That does not justify all the eucalyptus trees’ existence. It is already a compromise tilted in favor of the protesters to say Rec & Parks will keep most of the eucalyptus. The protesters would do well to practice the art of compromise.

    As one person has recently written, we should be giving homes to plants that were here before our own homes took over their habitat. I think it is selfish to think only of our own desires and not to think of the native plants and animals that co-evolved over the eons and that cannot speak for themselves. The protesters would do well to know that there are bigger things in this world than their own selfishly human desires.

    If we can be patient enough, oak trees are the best trees for biodiversity. They can host up to 400 different species of wildlife. The protesters seem to be accustomed to a certain attitude toward trees. OK, then let’s talk about beneficial trees and start planting oaks.

    At the very least, can we agree on something really basic, unrelated to trees but related to these areas–insisting that all dog owners keep their dogs onleash in our Significant Natural Resource Areas. Dogs can inadvertently disturb wildlife that inhabit these special areas. Too many dog owners are unaware. These areas are significant first for their wildlife, not for humans or dogs.

    • Ted Edwards, Glen Park

      Dee, you take an extreme position. If you would like to raze your home and try to plant oaks, have at it. But the Natural Areas program replanting has been a complete failure everywhere. Take a look at Tank Hill. The Natural Areas killed 25 thriving Euculyptus and replaced with Oaks. Five survive but the the tallest is 36 inches after 10 years. The neighbors are furious. The Feathered Friends of Glen Canyon estimate it is thriving with more than 100 bird species. Exactly which ones are you trying to bring back? Stop harping on dogs. Pesticides kill 35% of the butterflies they are trying to save. A federal study in April is just the beginning of the harm of Integrated Pest Management programs. Talk about selfish — and ignorant. Yes, there needs to be compromise but neither side seems willing to do so as you have so eloquently demonstrated.

  5. Ted Edwards, Glen Park

    Sally, these well meaning people had a community meeting last weekend that was packed. They were very clear that a hazardous tree like the one that fell last week needs to go. In fact, that tree had been identified by the city as being high risk as far back as January. There is a call for transparency and accountability of motives and plans for tree removal in Glen Canyon and throughout the park system where thousands of trees that are not dangerous or unhealthy are being doomed. Community opposition is significant and meaningful. And these people care just as much as you do for the safety and well being of all who enjoy the park.

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