Community has concerns over Klaus Park trees marked to be cut down
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -
About three dozen people were at Klaus Park in Cape Girardeau County on Wednesday for a meeting to discuss a proposal about trees in the park being harvested.
People are concerned that the park will not be the same if around 300 hundred trees are cut down.
"We are very concerned about this park. It's a very emotional and we're very attached to this park," Matt Smith said. "We're probably here two to three times a week running and exercising and number one, taking our six year old daughter out here. She loves to play out here."
Some of those we spoke with are concerned that this will aesthetically ruin the park, while others have concerns that while dragging and cutting these trees would damage the grounds of the park which include a trail.
"This isn't a very big park so when you're talking three to four hundred trees taken out, that is going to change the dynamics and the complexity of this park a lot," Tiffiney Smith added. "Especially for the groups that use this. A lot of mountain bikers, trail runners who use this group because we like to be out in the woods. That's what draws us to this park."
People were shocked last week to find that there were trees already marked with orange spray paint without any prior notification.
Cape Girardeau County Commissioner Clint Tracy said they apologize for not giving them a heads up about this, and plans to keep the community better informed from this point forward.
"There's a lot of orange marks out here and we knew what they were. They were going to cut these trees down," Matt Smith added.
"It was really heartbreaking to see; one because we didn't understand what was going on. There had been no communication about it previously," Tiffiney Smith said. "So when I came out here to run and I saw the orange slashes on the tree, it just completely broke my heart."
The trees marked were over 22 inches in diameter and conservationists have marked trees that are on the downward part of their lifespan according to project leaders.
"If trees are going to be cut down, what I would hope is they can be done in such a way to minimize the aesthetic damage to the park and of course to the trail that we have here," Cyclewerx owner John Dodd said.
Many also questioned how much money this might cost the people if the trees were to be cut down.
One proposed option was that the timber cut down may help pay for maintaining the park.
However, people we talked with at the park said they believe there are other ways to come up with some money like fundraising.
One priority leaders say is that the trees health condition is deteriorating for some and have safety concerns for the ones that have been marked.
"I'm personally willing to work with things to make sure that the park is healthy," Dodd said. "What I wouldn't want to see happen is the park being modified to an extent that it's not functionally like it is."