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Norwalk photos: Oak Hills trees on chopping block

(Yvonne “Myška” Lopaur)

NORWALK, Conn. — The Oak Hills Park Authority is taking down eight healthy evergreen trees, said Yvonne Lopaur, who submitted these photos.

OHPA Chairman Carl Dickens said the Authority has no choice.

Lopaur, a longtime OHPA critic and neighbor to Oak Hills Park, quoted famous golfer Gary Player as saying he’s a tree hugger and that people should be fined for cutting down trees.

(Yvonne “Myška” Lopaur)

In September, Golf Monthly quoted Player as going on a rant:

“It’s nonsense to be cutting all these trees it’s unfair. We worry about the Amazon cutting down these trees and we’re doing and contributing to the same affect.

“For goodness sake stop cutting them down and plant more!

“If you don’t know how to get a golf course with great shape, brush up on your knowledge because I can tell you all the great golf courses in the world were tree-lined round the greens and round the fairways.”

 

 

Lopaur asked why OHPA is cutting down the trees.

“The Authority over the years has systematically taken down trees in order to satisfy its vision of how to make the golf course more golf friendly,” she said.

Golfers love trees, Dickens said.

“The power company is taking them down and pruning some others,” he wrote. “They are within 20 feet of power lines and after the debacle of a power outage this year, they will be doing this all over Connecticut. I of course do not object, nor do I have a choice. It is in their right of way.”

(Yvonne “Myška” Lopaur)

20 comments

Ernie DesRochers November 30, 2020 at 8:53 am

You unfair treatment of the OHPA continues. The trees are located in the power company right of way and the power company is removing the trees. The OHPA has no say in the matter. Perhaps you need to change the batteries on your flashlight so it can shine better on the truth?
Editor’s note: Ernie DesRochers is a former OHPA chairman.

John Miller November 30, 2020 at 11:16 am

I guess Ms. Lopaur didn’t notice the power lines when she took this picture. Had she bothered to take a picture from the tee box looking down the fairway towards the green, she might have noticed that the hole in question (the 14th) is tree lined on both sides down its entire length as are most of the holes on Oak Hills. This definitely qualifies as “fake news.”

Audrey Cozzarin November 30, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Thank you, Nancy, and Yvonne Lapour, for highlighting this imminent cutting down of healthy trees at Oak Hills Park. I am chair of the Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee and knew nothing of this proposed project until this morning here on NoN.

I am against taking down healthy trees for ANY reason whatsoever. If you are concerned, please contact Eversource and ask them to halt this action. Since the trees fall in the power company’s right-of-way, we’ll see if the park itself can push back.

One solution is to examine if the trees really do collide in some way with power lines (which, one might hope, could be laid underground) to allow the trees to stand where they are/as they are. A second solution is to see if pruning will remedy in the short run.

Norwalk has some of the least tree canopy in Fairfield County due to roads and buildings (human development). We are at a point where we really have to reckon with human wants vs. nature’s needs. If we wish to walk/bike safely in Norwalk, if we want to look out our windows and see the beauty of the natural landscape and hear birdsong, we must realize we are a part of nature. Loss of habitat affects us in the long run.

We need Mother Earth. Without her, we have nothing. Let the trees stand. Help by voicing your concern to Eversource.

John ONeill November 30, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Does anyone else else find this ironic and amusing. The same people complaining about Eversource not doing enough preventative tree work in August are now on the front line trying to stop that same maintenance? Just something to ponder on a windy rainy Monday.

For those who missed it Notre Dame continues it’s magical season with a big win at North Carolina. Next up the Orange of Syracuse.

Casey McKenna December 1, 2020 at 12:14 am

I truly hope the plan to remove these gorgeous trees is reversed. They are so beautiful and beneficial. Additionally, if anyone spends any time at Oak Hills, you will know those trees offer cover to our bird population. There is no valid reason to fully remove these trees. If it’s a wire issue, just trim the tops.

Bill Waters December 1, 2020 at 8:35 am

Oh geez! Here we go again. Paint the Oak Hills Park Authority to look like the bad guy without researching the facts. That power grid runs the entire length of Fairfield County, so I imagine that burying the cables would be cost prohibitive and I doubt that Eversource would do it for just Oak Hills.
Perhaps, ask the City, your representatives or Eversource to look into replacing the trees with new ones that will not grow so tall. It’s an easy solution.

Patrick McMahon December 1, 2020 at 9:02 am

Audery, do you really expect the power company to take on the expense of burying the power lines in lieu of felling those awful looking trees? Lets get a grip on reality here, in order for us to avoid power outages like the one we had this past August these steps are necessary. Oak Hills is a beautiful park with many trees and an impeccable golf course, let’s stop complaining about every little thing.

And Yvonne, using that Gary Player quote totally out of context. The proper way to manage trees on any golf course is assessing them for safety of the public and the health of the turf and I for one think the OHPA has done a wonderful job maintaining a wonderful course on a beautiful woodland property. All of the courses he listed (if you bothered to post the entire quote) are tree lined but they are not overgrown, they are managed forest which is the proper way to handle golf in a wooded area. I think some “healthy” trees got knocked down in the storm last night, better write Mother Nature and angry email.

Yvonne M Lopaur December 1, 2020 at 10:39 am

Unfortunately the public notice (see below) has misled some individuals to think that Eversource slated the trees pictured to be cut down. That is not the case. Chris Torre the tree warden of Norwalk is calling for the trees to be removed not Eversource. Whether the OHPA asked him to come out and mark the trees for removal or he did it on his own initiative is beside the point. The issue is whether they should be cut down. Clearly if all the trees close to power lines were cut down they would be less likely to end up causing power outages. But do we want all healthy trees such as the ones pictured close to power lines to be cut down? From an aesthetic as well as an environmental point of view many Golfers and other visitors to the park would say no. If, like Gary Player, you agree you should write to Chris Torre, Norwalk’s tree warden. You can email him at [email protected] along with Anthony Carr, Chief of Operations and Public Works at [email protected].

PUBLIC NOTICE AS TO TREE REMOVAL. In conformance with the Chapter 451, Section 23-59 of the Connecticut General Statutes and Chapter 112 of the Code of the City of Norwalk this tree, located on public property owned by The City of Norwalk is posted for removal, as noted above.. Any objections to the removal of said tree must be made in writing within ten (10) days of the posted date to the Tree Warden Department of Public works, City Hall, 125 East Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut 06856-5125. For more information please call (203) 854-3200. No tree shall be removed without a written permit issued by the Tree Warden. Date posted 11/19/2020. Eversource Tree Removal. Director of Public Works, City of Norwalk.

Audrey Cozzarin December 1, 2020 at 12:13 pm

To Patrick,
Why not dream of what can be? Yes, I do expect the power company to start making their 19th-century infrastructure look more like Europe where not only are lines buried underground, they have electrified streets that can recharge electric vehicles driving on them. I dream of us modernizing in this way. Yes, it’s expensive, but what do you think we spend every time a storm takes out our power?

The high tension lines above the 8 trees slated for removal at Oak Hills Park also run through wooded areas along the golf course. Should they be cut down as well, just in case?

The posted signs say that Norwalk’s tree warden, Anthony Carr, makes the decision about the removal. Not sure if I have that 100% correct in terms of where Eversource comes into this picture, but it might make sense to delay the action until options can be weighed.

I stopped by yesterday afternoon to examine the trees in relation to the lines: The tallest tree has several lines running through it. The other 7 trees are not tall enough to fall onto the lines and could be pruned. Can the lines running through the tallest tree be relocated in some way? And, if there is push-back, why? Why can’t we be open-minded to imagine other ways of conducting our lifestyles? Why just overhead lines? I question whether human wants have to compromise nature’s needs. Do we just continue to take away everything that we find annoying or fearful about the natural world? Can we find solutions that work around nature instead of our “needs” being stuck to a single vision?

We are not separate from nature, but part of it. I am praying that these trees can remain intact and have faith that we Norwalkers can rise to an occasion to think out of the box and do the right thing for nature, instead of just going with the same program of chopping down what doesn’t aid human beings only.

John ONeill December 1, 2020 at 3:35 pm

IF 8 trees on a beautifully landscaped golf course is one’s biggest concern right now life must be pretty good. My thought is one may be better served by trying to shut down the wood pellet stove industry. Believe it or not those in favor of wood stoves over let’s say a natural gas heating system are really killing our forests. So my opinion is to take a hike ….up to Vermont and save tens of thousands of trees from a false narrative of wood burning stoves being so terrific..

John Miller December 2, 2020 at 9:49 am

Interesting point @John O’Neill. I found an interesting article about the wood pellet industry. Not only does it result in clear cutting forests but the evidence suggests that burning wood pellets generates more CO2 than burning coal (link below)

https://energynews.us/2019/12/02/southeast/wood-pellets-cause-more-climate-pollution-than-coal-when-theyre-burned-so-why-does-europe-call-them-carbon-neutral/

I wonder what these ladies will do when the clean energy industry starts to clear cut forests to install solar arrays and windmill farms? And BTW, while undergrounding is more commonplace in Europe, only about 40% of Europe’s power grid is underground and 60% is above ground. As far as the cost for going underground is concerned, see the link below:

https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/08/why-burying-power-lines-sounds-better-than-it-real.aspx

$750 per foot is simply not economically feasible. To Ms. Lopaur and Ms. Cozarrin I would say, stop wasting everyone’s time with a bunch of elitist nonsense.

Patrick McMahon December 3, 2020 at 9:22 am

I for one cannot understand why every issue with Oak Hills Park and OHPA is drummed up by the same five or six people. They have an issue with the trees, the restaurant, the fertilizer, the water and the list goes on. We are very fortunate in Norwalk to have such a wonderful park being used as a golf course for the recreational benefits of the residents. Yes, I understand residents of other towns use the course, but that is what it’s here for, to use and enjoy. This is just another example of a nothing story being highlighted for no reason at all.

I cannot think of one instance in surrounding towns were a group residents are so against something that is so widely used. Look at Westport as an example, Longshore is a treasure, the residents love the course and do what they can to make it successful, and it actually works! I understand the economics of Norwalk and Westport are different but that is not the point. The point is we have a beautiful park that happens to be a golf course and it needs to be viewed as such. See link below for actual information regarding the benefits of golf courses and the environment.

https://www.usga.org/course-care/water-resource-center/golf-courses-benefit-people-and-wildlife.html

Audrey, if Europe is such a Utopia in your mind I bet they and their underground power lines would accept you with open arms.

Audrey Cozzarin December 3, 2020 at 8:19 pm

Dear Patrick,
Hmmm… I am not sure what to say here. Would you like to meet by the trees and have a conversation? I hope you will say yes. It’s important to have our voices heard and find a meeting of the minds.

Shari Brennan December 4, 2020 at 6:19 pm

Here we go again. More misleading information. Same people are never happy with anything. They also lunge at OHPA for everything. The park did not randomly decide to remove trees just for the heck of it. Same people will be crying when storms bring down the trees and power lines. Read the signs posted on the trees. These signs have also been up for a while. Read before you leep.

Maria December 5, 2020 at 1:11 pm

Audrey and Yvonne might find a better place for this argument = all of the Christmas trees that about to be slaughtered for 3 weeks of decorations

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