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These squirrels looked a little confused as the top half of their oak home in Frazier Mountain Park was sawed off by county workers Tuesday, Feb. 22. Three trees deemed to be dangerous are being removed. Conflict over who gets the wood became a concern Tuesday.
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The wood from "Tree #10" (in the foreground), with bark filled with stored acorns by acorn woodpeckers, is to be left in place for birds to feed upon, according to a report from the biologist hired by Kern County. The other two oaks being taken down are visible in the background, one pruned to its trunk and the other lying on its side about 100 yards away, near the parking lot.
By Gary Meyer
Kern County Department of Parks began removal on Tuesday, Feb. 22 of three heritage Valley oak trees it determined were a danger to public safety in Frazier Mountain Park. Department Director Bob Lerude issued a notice to The Mountain Enterprise on February 4 about the removal. An arborist’s report said that danger to migrating birds has passed and that this is a good time to remove the trees.
‘Granary Tree’ To Stay in Place for Acorn Woodpeckers
One oak, designated as “Tree 10,” is being used “as an acorn storage or ‘grainery’ tree by acorn woodpeckers.” Though scheduled for removal, “if possible the food base stored in this tree should be left available to resident birds by storing sections of the trunk that contain the majority of the acorns on site and as close to the location of the original tree as possible. Storing the tree in such a way would allow continued access by the birds to the stored food source. Even if the birds do not utilize the stored acorns following the disturbance, it would provide an educational opportunity for the public visiting the park,” the arborist wrote.
Leslie Long, director of I Came to Believe, organized a charitable group called Warm Hearts, Warm Homes. She said that the Masons and the Calvary Chapel are helping her to secure wood for distribution to 30 local needy families who cannot afford firewood or the cost of heating fuel. She collaborated with the Family Resource Center to qualify the families.
Long said she was told the county cannot designate who gets the wood. The Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) declined to set up a distribution plan. Parks director Lerude told The Mountain Enterprise on Wednesday, Feb. 23 that the wood must be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. “Anyone can come and take the wood until it is gone,” Lerude concluded. Those who would like to help Warm Hearts, Warm Home harvest the wood are welcome to call Long at 661-993-8079.
Mandatory Rules To Be Enforced
No motor vehicles may be driven on park property, beyond the normal parking areas. No chainsaws may be used on park property. Kern County Sheriff’s Sergeant Mark Brown said these guidelines will be strictly enforced.Kern County Sheriff’s Harvesters must wait until the end of the day when park workers are finished, so nobody interferes with the work being done.
This is part of the February 25, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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