SF Parks Department Warns About Weakened Trees After Storms

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — In Golden Gate Park, dozens of trees have been marked with red tape after being damaged or weakened by the recent storms passing through the Bay Area.

The tape signals the trees are in need of care by Rec and Parks Department workers.

The clean up after the string of recent storms has been a round-the-clock effort. High winds and heavy rains led to the loss 76 trees over the course of a few days, according to SF Rec and Parks Director of Operations Dennis Kern.

That’s not bad, considering the department cares for about 131,000 trees.

“We put caution tape around trees that are actually down that we haven’t cleaned up yet,” said Kern. “And if there are trees that look like they’ve sustained enough damage that we should take them down, we come and caution tape them off to keep the public out until our tree crews can get there.”

The damage to some trees, like one seen in the Kezar Triangle part of Golden Gate Park, is apparent to the untrained eye.

“I mean, if you look at these trees, they’re old,” said park visitor Shaun Neal. “They just don’t look safe.”

Neal was out with his dog Rascal, who had a bit of cabin fever after a stormy week spent mostly inside.

Neal said he always has his wits about him when he’s driving or walking near a lot of trees.

“Everybody goes, ‘Oh, it wouldn’t in this neighborhood. It wouldn’t happen to me.’ Until it happens to them,” he explained. “You just have to keep your head on a swivel.”

Maintaining the trees is something the Rec and Parks department does every day. When a storm hits, crews work 24/7 to clean up the destruction Mother Nature leaves behind.

“We will thin them out over the course of the year so there’s enough space in the branch scaffolding so the wind will pass through rather than hit a very dense tree and push it over,” said Kern.

More from Jackie Ward
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