118-foot sequoia felled for safety | TheUnion.com
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118-foot sequoia felled for safety

A crew from Roberts Tree Care spent Friday morning grinding the stump of what was just days ago a 118-foot sequoia towering over central Grass Valley.

Few have disputed that the tree’s falling, 1,000-pound limbs posed a threat to the Johnson family, which owns the historic Edward Coleman House in Grass Valley. Arborist Randall Frizzell had argued to the Grass Valley City Council that the tree’s shallow roots could eventually uproot the historic home, as well.

But Grass Valley resident Lee McGowan said chopping down the tree represents another thing being destroyed – the quality of life.



“There is too much of a flatlander mentality coming here,” she said. “What about maintenance? If they got a service to maintain the tree, the limbs wouldn’t be a liability.”

McGowan said nowadays people want to get rid of the environment rather than live in it.




Nevada County native Bill Prechter voiced similar concerns. He said local residents and especially governments should protect what is left of the environment because the area is starting to look flat.

Ames Bookstore owner Dolores Slavin said she has also heard several people complain about the tree’s removal, though most of them don’t know the whole story, she said.

“Most people don’t know why,” Slavin said. “Coleman just planted it wrong.”

The tree was brought to Grass Valley by Edward Coleman, an Englishman who moved to Nevada County in 1860. Some have argued that the tree was doomed from the start because it was artificially placed in an urban setting.

Having owned her business in Nevada County for 17 years, Slavin said she has heard several stories about the tree. In World War II, a plane flying overhead clipped the top of the tree, Slavin recounted.

Looking back on the tree’s long life, Slavin said she was surprised by the speed of its removal. Crews first began slicing off the massive limbs Tuesday, and most of the tree was removed by Thursday night. Most of Friday was spent grinding the stump that remained.

“Boy, I have never seen them work so fast,” Slavin said.

The Johnson family appealed a denial by Public Works Director Rudi Golnik to remove the sequoia, believed to be Grass Valley’s largest and oldest.

Though one arborist said anyone who wanted to cut down the tree didn’t know the value of what they had, the council agreed with another arborist who argued the sequoia posed a threat to the family and the historic home its shadow fell over.

The Johnson family did not return calls seeking comment for this article.


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