Removing 160 years of history

To the editor,

There’s a hole in our hearts and a hole in the sky at the north end of town. A grand old ponderosa was cut down by the City. Apparently they deemed it necessary to remove this “hazard” after 10 years of study. Did they study the numbers and frequency of bald eagles perched in that grand snag? Did they watch 11 herons roosting in that tree? Or observe the Lewis woodpeckers, osprey, magpies, ravens, turkey vultures and hawks that frequented its branches? Did the City know that this tree has weathered many lightning strikes and bumps by careless drivers yet stood strong? How many such trees are there on the Animas in town? Only one other that we know of – at the Fish Hatchery where interpretative signage reads “Cutting down snag trees robs many animals of a place to live and threatens their survival.”

Did the City study the impact on neighbors who revered this tree, much less inform them of the plans to cut down this tree? No.

The trunk now lies like rubbish where it fell, the stump is a ragged reminder of loss. At the very least, can that trunk be given to a fine carpenter to mill, plane and build something of lasting beauty? Or perhaps can it be given to a caring artist to sculpt beauty honoring the tree’s many feathered visitors? (Maybe this sculpture made of local wood could grace the place where the non-local Arc of History once stood.) Or maybe, rounds of the trunk could be cut and polished for school children to learn Durango’s history. This tree stood for more than 160 years, at least 20 years before Durango was incorporated as a town! And lastly, might it be possible to replace it with some high perch for our feathered friends?

–Sandy Bielenberg and Maggie Bowes, Durango