Today was a hard day to watch, though it was necessary. When designing the two loops of the main trails, it was intentionally routed so that only a few small 4 inch diameter trees had to be removed along the entire trail system. The trails work within the forest, and they continuously flow between the trees. However, for the much wider parking lot, that was not an option in a dense forest. Some trees had to come down so that the park could be accessible for the public.
The parking lot was designed to meet minimum though workable standards for vehicle parking spaces, backup space, emergency vehicle turnaround requirements, and handicapped accessible parking. It is sized for 9 parking spaces. The initial design & permit process also laid out two specific parking expansion areas, if ever needed in the future.
The parking lot is positioned only 20 feet back from the road, so as to minimize intrusion into the forest plus provide good visibility from the road to reduce the likelihood of hidden loitering. All of the natural tall understory is being retained in that 20 foot gap to always keep as much natural vegetation as possible and to help preserve the forested feeling along that pretty section of road. The rectangle of the parking lot was literally moved a few feet here and a few feet there so that three significant stately trees could be saved. They will be located right up against the edge of the parking area. We will watch their root systems during the grading process. For one tree, we will likely even make the parking lot surface gently curve upwards to meet the tree, instead of cutting down into its root system for a perfectly level parking lot.
The clearing and grading contractor has been very sensitive to the needs of the park. He and his crew have done an excellent job so far in keeping all of their equipment and activities entirely contained within the confines of the future driveway and parking lot clearing areas. For the trees that were to be cut, we first determined an optimum single “alley” within the forest between surrounding standing trees where every cut tree was expertly felled one of top of the other into that thin alley. This method limited understory damage significantly and kept the regrowth area to a bare minimum.