Lookingfor a few good trees

Published on Thu, Sep 23, 2004 by Jan Hrutfiord

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Looking for a few good trees

By Jan Hrutfiord

One of the projects the park board has undertaken is to recognize our “Heritage Trees.” Blaine is truly blessed with many beautiful trees of all sizes, shapes and species. Can you think of our city without our big beautiful trees? It wouldn’t be the special place it is if they weren’t there.
I had the privilege of going around Blaine for a couple of days with a digital camera, taking pictures of trees that I considered noteworthy of the honor of being selected as “special.” What fun! First, I want to thank all those I saw on my camera tour for their helpfulness and information they gave about their trees. I don’t blame anyone for being skeptical of some strange lady taking pictures of their yard and/or house. I introduced myself to all who were home those two days, and asked permission if I had to enter a yard to get the pictures. They were all happy to show off their special trees and were helpful too in telling me of other trees in their neighborhood which should be included in the category of heritage trees.

What is a heritage tree? As far as we on the parks board are concerned, it is a tree of unusual size, conformity, species, beauty or of historic value, and in a good location for that tree. We have many trees that could be called heritage trees, even one that was labeled as such by a petition of the neighborhood it is growing in.

Did you know that we in Blaine have the largest Copper Beech and the largest edible Chestnut tree west of the Mississippi?

There are many trees that are native here, and the best examples of such native stands of trees can be found in Lincoln Park. This wonderful stand of second growth Douglas Fir, Red Cedar, Big Leaf Maple, and a select number of Cottonwood trees in the 29 acres of Lincoln Park are a special asset, and we are truly blessed with the foresight of our early settlers that made Lincoln Park our first public park in Blaine back in 1904.
There is a huge Walnut tree which was planted by one of Blaine’s early settlers, beautiful native Dogwood trees, and a not particularly beautiful Cottonwood tree, but it houses a huge bald eagle nest in the heart of our city.
Besides native species, there are a surprising number of Giant Sequoia trees, Redwoods, huge Locust trees, a Madrona tree, (which isn’t supposed to grow this far north of the San Juan Islands), and Deodara Cedars - a true cedar, commonly called a Cedar of Lebanon.

In all I took photos of 35 different trees around Blaine, and there are many more which could be called our “Heritage Trees.” Do you have a tree which you consider worthy of the “Heritage Tree” classification? I’d love to know about it, and if I can borrow the city’s digital camera again, I would love to picture your tree for our collection. Leave your name, address, and some information about your tree, at the Blaine city hall, or The Northern Light. They will give me the information and I will try to do another round of tree picture taking later this year.

Blaine is blessed with many parks, both large and small. Some are in good repair, some not. For several years, the Park and Cemetery Board has been working along with Terry Galvin (our community development director) to put together a comprehensive parks and recreation plan for the city. The plan is now complete and awaiting approval by Blaine city council. When it is approved, we will be ready to start a new phase in the development of our parks, updating and upgrading the current and future recreation facilities to meet the needs of the citizens of our city. The plan has been submitted to the city council for study by the board, and the city council will hold a public hearing on September 27, at 7 p.m., in the city council chambers. We hope that their approval will be in the near future.

The comprehensive parks plan does several things: it shows what is already there, provides a strategy for the development of new parks and improvements to existing parks and recreational facilities, and allows us to look for grants and other funding to pay for these planned expenditures. The comprehensive plan is a 20 year plan that anticipates growth in population and future needs for these new citizens.The parks plan also has a more specific six-year plan for parks development and improvement, including funding sources.

With this thought in mind, I would like to give you a “tour” of our existing parks in some of my future articles. I will try to point out both good and not so good aspects of our parks system. My hope is that you can learn more about our park system and possibly get involved in some of the plans for their future. Look for more in future issues of The Northern Light.