In the last couple of weeks, you may have seen notices posted on trees throughout Golden Gate Park. These trees are scheduled to be removed because they present a risk to public safety. Some of them show obvious signs of failure from the outside. Others do not. For the trees posted for removal, pruning alone has been determined to not be sufficient to mitigate the risk they pose to public safety. We will, however, be pruning dozens of trees to keep them healthy as long as possible.
The Recreation and Park Department is planning to have a contractor on board beginning in March to complete the second of two phases of hazardous tree mitigation in Golden Gate Park. This work is part of our citywide Park Forestry Program, which is funded by the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond. The Park Forestry Program takes proactive steps toward repairing and restoring park forest in San Francisco with an estimate of roughly 100,000 trees that has not received proper care since planting. The Park Forestry Program involves assessing and treating our aging canopy and revitalizing our urban forest with tree planting.
Golden Gate Park has an estimate of 10,000 trees. An independent arborist consultant assessed over 3,000 trees in Golden Gate Park and gave them a risk rating of 1-12. Given that 12 is the most hazardous rating, tree rated 9 or greater are slated for pruning, when possible, or removal. The first phase of hazardous tree mitigation focused on the perimeter of Golden Gate Park and included Highway 1 as well as trees near buildings, parking lots, and meadows, locations with the highest concentration of traffic and pedestrian activities. Phase I work was completed in 2012. Phase II hazardous tree assessment and mitigation work is concentrated on trees along city streets located within Golden Gate Park, as well as those near children’s play areas. A wildlife biologist has been retained to monitor bird nesting activities during the tree management process to ensure the project is in compliance of Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and State Fish and Game Code protecting migratory birds. Following tree pruning and removal work, we will bring another contractor on board to complete extensive replanting. We are committed to replanting at a ratio of 1:1 or greater.
Please note, all trees slated for removal are posted 30 days or more in advance of scheduled removal date. The goal is to allow ample time for community members to ask questions and express concerns so that SF Rec and Park can address the questions or concerns accordingly.