Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ June 2008

North Four Corners Park:  The Saga Continues

By Carole Barth

Parks Department crews have begun clearing away the mess they made of the meadow in February.  This requires vigilance on our part, even though MNCPPC is faithfully consulting NFCCA before they take any action.  Had I not been onsite when the work was going on, tree roots would have been damaged (again) during the cleanup.  There is still debris to be cleared in the lower meadow and, now that the vegetation has leafed out, it is time to implement the invasives removal plan.

This is important both for safety concerns (simply removing the invasive vines can change the level of visibility from 80 percent obscured to only 10 percent obscured) and for the health of the remaining trees.  This would involve the combination of a properly supervised professional machete crew as well as volunteer follow-up.  In the meantime, as I noted in the creek cleanup article, any volunteers who want to get started right away, just send me an email.

We hired an independent arborist to inspect the damage to the walnut tree as well as looking at a tulip poplar the MNCPPC arborist wants to take down.  She determined that the poplar should come down.  She also found that the walnut meets the County standard for a specimen tree and, in fact, that it ranks not far below the official County champion walnut.  She observed not only that heavy equipment had been used on damp soil within the dripline, but that in a few places the equipment’s blade had cut the tree’s bark and surface roots.

She noted that MNCPPC has strict tree protection standards that are designed to protect trees from damage during construction activities.  Specifically, a critical root zone (CRZ) area is calculated for each tree, and within that zone, no equipment is to be used.  For the black walnut, the CRZ is a radius of 67.5', with the trunk of the tree being the center of the circle.  In other words, if this were a construction site, by MNCPPC’s own rules, no equipment of any kind would have been used within the 67.5' circle.  It’s ironic that trees on a construction site receive more protection from developers than park trees have from maintenance crews.  We will now be following up with the park manager to implement our arborist’s suggested remediation actions.

Finally, you may remember that, during the winter, we had decided to schedule the first Rachel Carson Meadow Festival for Sunday May 4th.  Unfortunately, with the damage to the park and the unexpected battle before the Council during late winter/spring, the festival planning got tabled.  Therefore, we have postponed the festival until next Spring.  If any of you are interested in helping with the festival, please let me know.

Of course, we will also continue preparing for the next park budget cycle in two years.  As part of that, I will be chairing a new Civic Federation Parks committee.  This committee will be collecting information from around the County to document the true state of our parks and the Parks Department.  So stay tuned.   ■

   © 2008 NFCCA  [Source:]