Jim Schell, the superintendent of the golf course in Oak Hills, and Eversource both want to remove trees from the park.
Eversource wants to remove trees to protect the power lines. Mr. Schell wants to remove trees from the golf course for five reasons stipulated by the United States Golf Association:
- As trees grow they can crowd the line of play.
- The shade from trees limits turf growth.
- The leaves and sticks that fall from trees add to the cost of maintaining the course.
- The root systems of trees compete with turf for water and nutrients and damage mowing equipment.
- Trees squeeze the lines of play making courses too challenging for the average golfer.
Hence, as Diane Lauricella pointed out in a letter to Chief of Operations and Public Works Anthony Carr and Tree Warden Chris Torre, “there has been a long history of unwise tree removal efforts at this public park.” And that is doubly concerning because the golf course in the park is heavily subsidized by taxpayers.
Now Eversource intends to cut down eight magnificent Spruce trees lining the Marshall Drive entrance to the Park because it views them as threatening adjacent power lines. While I understand Eversource’s reasoning, I have reached out to them to consider whether the benefit of slightly reducing the chance of a power outage is worth the cost measured by the trees contribution to the appearance and ecological wellbeing of the park.
No one from Eversource has gotten back to me.
See below for photos of trees that have been cut down in Oak Hills over the years in order to make the park more golfer friendly.
In 2005 the OHPA cut down trees to “improve” the view from the newly built restaurant.
On January 22, 2015 a magnificent tree on the 17th green was cut down.
The pond at the back of the course used to be surrounded by trees. Now they are gone.
See the three photos below.
The 10 pictures below were taken in Oak Hills from 2015 to 2017.
All but one of the trees below were at the entrance to Charles Marshall Drive and all were cut down by the OHPA in 2016. The one exception was the one closest to Fillow Street. That tree brought down a power line it was up against when it was felled by tropical storm Isaias in August 2020.
Yvonne “Myška” Lopaur)