By Nancy Covert
Trees, property owners’ rights to remove same, and intentions to secure a natural wildlife designation for at least one piece of town property were just a few issues heard by Steilacoom Town Council at its first meeting of the new year on Jan. 5.
While the Town’s Municipal Code SMC 16.18 will have modifications made to the language, several citizens spoke Tuesday night regarding concerns to that topic. Paul Loveless, Steilacoom’s Town Administrator, said that no action would be taken on the Chapter modifications until early March.
During the Non-Agenda Items portion of the evening meeting, Nancy Henderson, chair of the town’s Parks Task Force, reported that a Steilacoom resident, allegedly unauthorized, had 16 trees removed from some Cedar Street property (download report here). The property abuts the Tunnel of Trees.
Besides the tree removal, which Henderson reported that Doug Fortner, Steilacoom’s Town Planner, had not approved, the property owner in question also had hired a tree removal firm that operated without having a valid license.
Henderson reported that the tree removal had taken place on Dec. 25, and she lamented that once the tree cutting was underway, there was no way for a citizen to notify a council member about the inappropriate action.
Jeanette Pilgrim, another supporter of protecting Steilacoom’s trees, proposed designating the town as a “Tree City” as a way to protect many of its heritage trees.
More education about trees and their importance, especially in a community such as this, is one way to make citizens better informed about why trees should be of concern.
Segueing from Tree protection to Park Improvement, Henderson presented an in-depth report about grass roots’ efforts beginning in 2008. Early efforts began with the removal of blackberry vines and Scotch Broom at Sunnyside Beach, followed by removal of invasive ivy at Perkins Park (through the continuing efforts of Steilacoom High School’s National Honor Society students. That group was honored in 2010 as the Town’s Volunteers of the Year for their on-going work to improve that Union Ave./Martin St. park. Students from Saltar’s Point Elementary and Pioneer Middle School also worked on several park improvement projects at Farrell’s Marsh and Sunnyside Beach.
Park improvement volunteers also include members of the 42nd MP Brigade, as well as local Scouts working toward their Eagle Scout rank.
Posting of signs to designate whether a pathway is “public” or “private” is another goal of the Parks Task Force’s plan.
Henderson encourages community residents to contact her about ways they can become involved with this effort. Nancy can be reached at 584-7284.