Pro Urban Forest Group Releases Top 10 List Of Chicago Parks With Most At Risk Tree Populations

Effects of Emerald Ash Borer to change the face of Chicago Parks in 2014
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CHICAGO - April 24, 2014 - PRLog -- CHICAGO, IL – (April 24, 2014) -- A Morton Arboretum expert calls it the emerald ash death curve and today many Chicago Parks sit squarely on the peak of that curve. More than 30 thousand mature ash trees shade Chicago’s parks, and arborists believe that every tree is infested with the beetle that kills the trees in a few short years. While Chicago’s forestry department treats ash trees on city parkways, the Chicago Park District has chosen to let its ash trees die, even though treatment is a less expensive option.

The Save-Your-Ash Coalition advocates treatment to save all of Chicago’s mature ash trees for environmental and financial reasons and today released its list of parks with the most at risk tree populations. Following is the coalition’s list:

1. Garfield Park: There is some irony in the fact that a park with a conservatory stands watch over the avoidable death of tens of thousands of ash trees. Once the ash are lost it will take a half a century before this jewel of Chicago’s Park District shines as bright;

2. Lincoln Park: The ash population in Lincoln Park includes a cluster of trees on the south end that is the only habitat in the region for an endangered species of Heron;

3. Marquette Park: An oasis on the southwest side of Chicago will see 30-50 foot mature ash replaced with 12 foot ash that will take a generation to reach their predecessor’s size;

4. Montrose Harbor/Waveland Golf Course: This is the site of some of the most beautiful, mature ash in the entire Midwest. It’s unlikely that any will be around in five years;

5. Burnham Park: The “front lawn” of the south side that stretches along six miles of the lakefront, the loss of ash trees will be devastating to the lake front community. Emerald ash was first found in Chicago one mile away in 2008 and trees treated along State Street remain healthy;

6. Diversey Harbor: The harbor surround is shaded by tall, leafy trees that have taken decades to reach their impressive size. Allowing these ash to die will send summer pic-nics hunting for shade in other parts of the city;

7. Jackson Park and South Shore Cultural Center: A historic area with some of the oldest ash in the area will hum with chain saws this year;

8. Robert A Black Golf Course: Losing all of the ash will transform this high-use recreational area – golf course and surrounding park – into one that is far less hospitable in summer;

9. Humboldt Park: Chicago’s Parks are a boon to working class families and none more so that Humboldt Park. It’s unlikely if given the choice the community would have voted to let its trees die;

10. Washington Park: It’s difficult to comprehend why the Chicago Park District let these ash expire, while across the street, the University of Chicago ash population that was treated stand healthy;

Off The List Until 2017 -- Horner Park: Through the combined efforts and contributions from former Alderman Dick Mell (33rd), current Alderman Deb Mell, the Horner Park advisory council and others, all of the ash trees in Horner Park were treated and are now free of emerald ash borer.  Horner Park demonstrates that with modest effort and small investment, the canopy that shades Chicago’s parks can be preserved for this generation.

“With many of these Chicago parks we’ve likely passed the point of no return,” stated John Friedmann of the Save Your Ash Coalition. But many trees, perhaps hundreds and even thousands, can still be saved. The city’s forestry department with the support of Mayor Emanuel is doing a great job preserving parkway trees. But now we request the Chicago Park District to go out and ask their communities what they want. What we’ve seen clearly with forestry’s treatment program this past year is that homeowners and residents embrace the preservation of mature trees.”

John Friedmann
Source:Save Your Ash Coaltion
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Tags:Chicago, Chicago Park District, Emerald Ash Borer, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel
Industry:Environment, Government
Location:Chicago - Illinois - United States
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