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Timber Talk and Walk

Heavy rain during the night and a forecast of showers in the afternoon brought out 15 people for last week's Walking on Wednesday outing, a program sponsored by the Piedmont Rec. ration Department. The group showed up with umbrellas and four of their K-9 best friends.

The walkers were intrigued by recent articles in the Piedmont Post about tree removals in front of the high school and at Upper Dracena Park, where four huge eucalyptus trees and one Monterey pine were being removed for safety reasons. The largest eucalyptus had a 95-inch trunk and was nearly 100 feet tall A walk to Dracena Park also provided an opportunity to continue on to Manor Drive, one of the few remaining Piedmont streets that the group had not yet walked.

The walkers headed down Magnolia Avenue then up Hillside Avenue across Oakland Avenue and down Blair Avenue to the top of the park at Dracena Avenue, where they heard the sound of chain saws. The walkers entered the park and came to a bridge with large trees that hid the activity that was going on. On the other side of the bridge, they could see two fear- less tree cutters strapped to two tall eucalyptus trees. The group walked to Park Way where they had clear views of the cutters and the work they were doing.

Former Piedmont mayor Patty White, a Walking on Wednesdays member, was there to greet everyone.

The two eucalyptus trees closest to the corner of Park Way and Dracena Avenue had been removed the week before, using a 100-foot crane that lowered the heaviest sections of the trees to the ground. On Wednesday, it was just two men with chain saws cutting sections of the trees and dropping them to the ground below with resulting thuds. The activity was fascinating and the skill of the tree cutters was impressive, so much so that the walkers paid little attention to the rain that had started. The cutters noticed their admirers, gave a wave, and the walkers responded with applause and two thumbs up. The group then moved closer to the temporary, protective fence for a photo with the trees in the background.

Nancy Kent and Dave Frankel, Piedmont's Parks and Project Manager and Public Works Supervisor, were supervising the eucalyptus removal and came over to greet the walkers and explain why the removal project was necessary. The walkers decided that continuing on to Manor Drive would be anticlimactic, so they headed back to the Exedra, by way of Park Way, Waldo Avenue, and Blair and Highland Avenues.

The sun was starting to shine, and the walkers agreed this was a walk they would not forget.


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