Tree removal plan approved

In an effort to preserve San Francisco’s natural habitat, The City approved a plan Monday that would cut down thousands of non-native trees along hillsides and parks.

Under the Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan, a road map to guide The City’s efforts to revive San Francisco’s natural habitat, thousands of eucalyptus trees, shrubs and other non-native plant species would be cut down from 1,100 acres across 29 parks that are part of The City’s natural areas program. The plan calls for replanting native trees in some parks.

Recreation and Park officials, who approved the plan, said preserving San Francisco’s natural plants is a priority, but it still did not take the decision to cut down trees lightly.

“I was born in the San Joaquin Valley, where the only shade I had was from eucalyptus trees,” Recreation and Park Commission President Gloria Bonilla said. “I am very sensitive that we do whatever we can to preserve these trees.”

The Recreation and Park Commission voted unanimously Monday to send the plan for an environmental review, which could take up to 18 months to complete. Recreation and Park Department General Manager Yomi Agunbiade said the review would help the department understand the scope of the plan, such as the effects of cutting down a particular tree.

The City’s indigenous plants have struggled around non-native plants partly because of overcrowding and toxins released by some non-native species, according to the commission. The plan would also restore the habitat for several endangered species and animals unique to The City, such as the San Francisco garter snake and the mission blue butterfly, by improving and rerouting walking trails in some parks, suchas Bernal Hill.

Changes dictated under the plan would be rolled out gradually afterward. Lisa Wayne, of the Recreation and Park Department, said The City’s forest will not look noticeably different after the trees are cut, and 50 years from now The City’s parks will look similar to today but with more pine and fir trees.

The exact costs of the plan will not be known until after the review is done, but commissioners expect it to be expensive. Up to five gardeners would need to be hired by The City to carry out the work.

Timber!

Parks affected by The City’s restoration plan that would cut down non-native trees.

» Balboa Natural Area

» Bayview Park

» Bernal Hill

» Billy Goat Hill

» Brooks Park

» Buena Vista Park

» Corona Heights

» Dorothy Erskine Park

» Duncan-Castro

» Edgehill Mountain

» Fairmount Park

» Glen Canyon Park

» Golden Gate Heights Park

» Grandview Park and Extension

» Hawk Hill

» India Basin Shoreline Park

» Interior Greenbelt

» Kite Hill

» Lake Merced

» Lakeview/Ashton Mini Park

» McLaren Park

» Mount Davidson

» Oak Woodlands: Golden Gate Park

» O'Shaughnessy Hollow

» Palou-Phelps

» Pine Lake

» Rock Outcrop

» Sharp Park

» Tank Hill

» Twin Peaks

» 15th Avenue Steps

sfarooq@examiner.com

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