1 (edited by e57 Thursday November 24, 2011 2:00 pm)

Topic: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

My wife spotted some note of the plans in the print version of the MPIC newsletter prompting me to look up the plans and long term goals. Then I spotted the on-line version of MPIC newsletter and it's opinion here on main page... The unfavorable opinion is not unique that removal of what might be perfectly healthy trees, among those not interested in the goal of the plan. The stated goal is "restoration" and "preservation" of NATURAL habitat. (what it looked like before man manipulated it.) I'm not a big plant guy, but why not go back to what it used to look like? Would you think differently if they planted palm trees there instead?

The facts, it had very few trees on it.... Take a peek of what it looked like before that silly cross was stuck up there... And the trees planted as a wind break to shelter it... (they do a great job of hiding it too....)
A picture FROM there...
http://foundsf.org/images/e/ed/North-sl … vidson.jpg
Twin peaks - This is where this next picture is taken from... Of mt. Davidson
http://savesutro.files.wordpress.com/20 … n-1885.jpg

By the time of his death in 1898, Sutro had also become Mayor of San Francisco and the owner of one tenth of the city, approximately 12,000 acres (from Baker Beach and Lincoln Park to the shores of Lake Merced). At the urging of the naturalist poet, Joaquin Miller (one of the first to promote preservation of the Sierra Nevada forests), Sutro enlisted school children and the unemployed to plant eucalyptus, cypress, and pine trees on his land for Arbor Days, transforming the city’s barren mountaintops and creating the beautiful Sutro Forest that remains on Mt. Davidson today. (The east side of the park is without trees because it was owned by Leland Stanford).

Ref: http://mtdavidson.org/mount_davidson_park

The tree line in this photo I'm posting below represents the property line between the Sutro, and Stanford owned properties. Sutro's trees and the coveted Cross they hide. And Stanfords land untouched apart from the early developments here - notably the earthen dam for water distribution at the 200 block of Teresita.

2 (edited by e57 Thursday November 24, 2011 10:44 am)

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

Oh my wife tells me Sutro encouraged planting trees since he also solidified land claims, and possibly escaped taxes by planting the land he owned in SF.... .??

But I figure it was to apease the arsonists who burned down the two previous crosses by hiding it....

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

Found an awesome article about the natural state of the ranges of hills in the SF and Marin peninsula:


Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

Please do not continue to interfere in the restoration of Mt. Davidson

I see no reason to why the MPIC through its newsletter should try to shape opinion by misinforming the public about restoration projects. Is it for the sake of preserving status quo? Or butting in, for the sole sake of butting in – or out of some type of boredom?

Why not present information about these restoration plans in a non-biased and more truthful way? The goal is to reduce non-native and evasive plant species from a public property to better protect what little is left of undeveloped San Francisco. Take it back to a time that pre-dates manipulation and intervention by man – and preserve that. (Instead of the imported trees Adolf Sutro, and bands of Christian groups planted around their Cross) Create healthy ecosystems for native and endangered plants and animals. Increase the opportunity for the natural views once afforded it to the west, north and south. (Now obscured by those non-native trees.)

Sure while nature might not be exactly what one looks for when they go out in it – it should however be available to those who seek it in the form nature intended. Not with park benches, and a paved path to it. If one seeks that – they can easily got to another Adolf Sutro creation – Golden Gate Park.

I have said this before – the MPIC does NOT speak for us all, and they should stop pretending to do so, to our elected officials in matters like this.

Thank You,

Mark A. Heller

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

Excuse me, but what does "continue to interfere" mean. My understanding of the reforestation is that includes replanting of Poison Oak as a native species. If this is true, those of us who live near the top will be exposed to blowing leaves. I am dangerously allergic to this plant (hospitalization) and find that the interference comes not from the MPIC, which represents all of us and our interests, but from those planning to change our environment in a manner which will endanger some of us.

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

Jlockley wrote:

Excuse me, but what does "continue to interfere" mean. My understanding of the reforestation is that includes replanting of Poison Oak as a native species. If this is true, those of us who live near the top will be exposed to blowing leaves. I am dangerously allergic to this plant (hospitalization) and find that the interference comes not from the MPIC, which represents all of us and our interests, but from those planning to change our environment in a manner which will endanger some of us.

Yes, continue to interfere.... By a campaign of misinformation. Please find where this plan paid for by tax payer dollars says it will replant poison oak. Then find out who told you that.

7 (edited by e57 Sunday January 15, 2012 9:21 pm)

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

Just getting the chance to read the most recent newsletter.... (busy guy...) And I was very surprised to see my letter to you paraphrased in it, with a 3 page rebuttle to the request that you present information about these plans in a more truthfully non-biased way. Albeit, the rebuttle is jam packed with even more biased, single point views, and elaborate means of misinformation. Shocking....

The repeated use of the word "historic" to describe a man made forest, is much in line with saying the south bays historic use of wetlands for Cargills salt evaporators could be justified... They have been there roughly the same amount of time, and both escape the fact that 'history' predates 'us' in this generation. If history is written by the winner, one can assume the butterflies, fish, and the rest of the plant and animal kingdom - lost.

Prior to Sutro's purchase of the land west of the existing tree line, there was no tree line.... His other purchases of broader areas of the city also share his manipulative handiwork. Below the tower bearing his name is another eculiptous forested area, where his mansion used to be, from his living room where he first broadcast the fist TV signals to this area. Or, say Golden Gate Park, and formally Play Land,which used to be sand dunes.... How much of Sutro handiwork are we to preserve?

The fact that you can self appoint historical and botanical experts who can not see the contradictions of benches, trails and dog runs in what is described as a sensitive plant restoration areas is very concerning. Especially since one can assume a fair amount of tax dollars would be at work. To pay teams of "experts" who do seem to get the point that plant restoration is something that takes time, and protection from the trampling of dogs and those seeking a park bench.

Why is it concerning? That the budgets of those doing this work need to be used to refutiate weird claims of planting poison oak, like the person above seems to believe. Or the stalwarting of some neighborhood organization placing obstacles to common sense.

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

Wow newsletter and another 3 pages of defense of invasive species. Now joining forces with someone looking to say trees don't burn because they're wet with morning dew.

Not sure how many know this, but some trees burn when wet, some have fire as a breeding stratagy... (like the trees in question.) Say, birch in which the resin can be dipped in water, pulled out wet, then lit. Blue gum euciliptous, AKA "gasoline gum" has a really nasty reputation... Just a quick tool around the Internet gets quite a lot of despise of the blue gum eucilipus from what one might think of as environmentalists.... To include environmental terrorism..... WACKY!

Here is a neatly written paper on its history, etc


On warm days vaporised Eucalyptus oil rises above the bush to create the characteristic distant blue haze of the Australian landscape. Eucalyptus oil is highly flammable (ignited trees have been known to explode[7][13]) and bushfires can travel easily through the oil-rich air of the tree crowns. Eucalypts obtain their long-term fire survivability from their ability to regenerate from epicormic buds situated deep within their thick bark, and lignotubers,[14] or by producing serotinous fruits.

In seasonally dry climates oaks are often fire-resistant, particularly in open grasslands, as a grass fire is insufficient to ignite the scattered trees. In contrast a eucalyptus forest tends to promote fire because of the volatile and highly combustible oils produced by the leaves, as well as the production of large amounts of litter which is high in phenolics, preventing its breakdown by fungi and thus accumulates as large amounts of dry, combustible fuel.[14] Consequently, dense eucalypt plantings may be subject to catastrophic firestorms. In fact, almost thirty years before the 1991 Oakland, California fires, a study of Eucalyptus in the area warned that the litter beneath the trees builds up very rapidly and should be regularly monitored and removed.[15] It has been estimated that 70% of the energy released through the combustion of vegetation in the Oakland fire was due to eucalyptus.[16] In a National Park Service study, it was found that the fuel load (in tons per acre) of non-native Eucalyptus woods is almost three times as great as native oak woodland.[16]

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

so...where's the funding come from for this ambition of re-forestation?

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

The letter in the paper was from a recognized expert and very well reasoned and written. Please do not continue to interfere with my mountain. Removing the trees cannot but result in  landslides onto the abutting properties (this has happened before when trees and brush was removed) at considerable cost to the owners. The proposed planting of Poison Oak is simply laughable, especially for those of us who will have to deal with the consequences, and there will be some. You do not know what effects of the removal of the trees will have on the residents around the mountain, but the probability is that the current forest functions as a wind break, so that we will experience more wind and fog. The Park, furthermore, enjoys an ecological balance that has developed over the years. We have owls and a variety of raptors, plus the usual forest fauna. Upsetting that will impact the animals, taking away many  habitats, especially for birds.
Life is not a history lesson. Habitats change, so does geography. The mind numbing nostalgia wishing to waste money on returning to a primordial state of perfection which never existed is an insult to the intelligence of those of us who are forced to live in the real world.
Plant a redwood forest,  on the other hand, and we may have something to discuss.
How dare you have the arrogance and effrontery to suggest that people do not share their opposition to your pet project here?
First Amendment. Read. Make a sentence.

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

I see  no advantage to deforestation and restoration.  It is costly and I don't see any great advantage to the ecosystem.  Perhaps the proverbial middle-ground is to consider restoration of certain areas, and allowing the area to restore itself over time by reintroducing native species as non-native species die-out.   It took a long time for the area to grow into what it is now, there should be no need to hurry-up a natural process to have it return to a previous state.

12 (edited by Jlockley Tuesday April 3, 2012 12:34 pm)

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

Yes, they did. They were very clear about that. At the recent and very interesting meeting at the MPIC Clubhouse they presented the case cogently, factually, and, I believed, with a minimum of bias. (They like trees - they're biased). In the meantime, the Poison Oak is back, benches have been removed because people with dogs sit on them, and the dogs could harm the "native vegetation". The short and long term plans include reduction of park access to the public and to dogs (I don't have one, so I really don't care). The pictures of "Successfully" replanted areas show scrub brush and grass. Parks are for people. Native grasslands are flawed, open air eco museums.

What they did not say: Many of the trees in the forest need to be cut or replaced, which would probably cost more than the program. The great trees at the edge, says my neighbor,whose home is right in their path, are at the end of their lives and are becoming dangerous. They are too tall to prune, and would need to be replaced.  The old, heavy branches are dangerous. The Parks haven't dealt with them over the years, and now we find ourselves with no money facing not so benign neglect, and it's going to cost us, but the grass and scrub program carries a mega price tag, too.
The question is, "replace with what?". Grass and brush to created a windswept hillock is a pretty facile solution  Removing the entire stand, however, seems akin to tearing down a stately mansion because of required maintenance. It's somewhat reminiscent of the City's plan to scrap the cable cars in the 50's (60's ?). The forest is really a treasure, and I would be very sorry to see it go from a purely personal standpoint in addition to all of the arguments listed above. I'd rather live on Mt Davidson Park than Mt Baldy.

As for this being the "recent hysteria", that's a foul. It is public anger at the discovery that a drastic and probably foolish decision has been made will impact us all has been made with no alerts to those of us who will live closest to us. The "hysteria" is more aptly found in the mindless botanical/historical nostalgia fueling the program.

I can just hear the young couple who moves in twenty years from now sighing, "There used to be a lovely eucalyptus forest here, but they cut it down. What were they thinking? "

By the way, one aside made at the presentation was that the Parks Dept actually did manage to assess and cull the trees in Stern Grove, so it should be possible here.

Another aside: This is scheduled to happen at many parks. The objection to the fact that trees are not native would indicate that we should have no trees., as there were  apparently no trees in San Francisco when it was discovered. The Lorax indeed.

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

larrycsf: The non native species intended will be only grass and a bit of scrub. There are no native tress in San Francisco (repeated from above, but to be clear.)
Another point they did not make is that the fire argument is bogus. Eucalyptus reportedly acted as fire breaks in the San Diego fires, so that residents have requested more plantings. (Google it). The trees here catch fog and keep the forest very damp, so the danger is much less than in Southern California. When I grew up on Teresita at the edge of Glen Canyon we were constantly battling racing fires in the scrub. It is in fact tinder.
Another issue mentioned by the tree huggers was the amount of pesticide and herbicide required to maintain the "native landscape." Remember that the underground aquifers from the mountain surface in our gardens or flow through some of our homes (in concrete channels built into our sub basements and garages).

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

This is about deforestation, so I think it is pretty much relevant:

Approximately 4.2 million tons of wood pallet materials were landfilled in the US in 1995; this equals 1.4% of total waste and 19.6% of total wood waste landfilled.
7.6 billion board ft. of wood was used to make pallets in 2006 – deforesting an area 10 times the size of Manhattan in just a year.

Source: http://www.pallettruth.com/environmental-risks/

The numbers are daunting, are not they?

15 (edited by e57 Sunday December 2, 2012 12:20 pm)

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

Spotted the MPIC & its news letter seeking to speak for us all again....
In this article "Endangered Manzanita on Mt. Davison" publishing its letter to US Fish and Wildlife, the author seeks to quantify who he represents in the neighborhood. I would appreciate more factual representation. The MPIC does NOT represent the opinions and views of our "entire neighborhood", and doubtful that it is even a majority. To be honest, this type of disingenuous quantification of 'speaking for us all' to elected officials, and public agencies, that puts me off of the organization....

That said, this LAST original native manzanita, is on the "endangered list", because it was previously thought extinct...
http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/05/us/califo … index.html

We should - in my opinion, be proud to be the hosts for the clones of this plant. Just think of it for a moment. Some 300 or so years ago Spanish mission settlers showed up here, and looked to the west, just as native Americans did for long before that from what we call Mt. Davidson. And likely did so, across patches of flowering manzanita to view the Pacific across the western parts of what would become our city. Right up to the point some land baron (Sutro) decided to plant a crop of fast growing - poorly suited fire wood. Which later, served the secondary purpose of shielding the overtly Christian religious symbol propped up on what became public property. (Later, this highest point of the city was sold off to preserve it, by selling it to keep the cross, over the separation of church and state conflict. To my knowledge, also supported by the MPIC.)

In this same issue of the MPIC news letter, another author drones on about the replacement of a bench to take in the views of downtown. (Across the view of a single dead tree, in the portion of the hill not owned by, or planted by Sutro) I too, personally do sit up there and do the same, but often on the large concrete access to the underground tank that provides water to those above the level of the water storage on Teresita, like myself. But at some point, I would like to some day sit on the back side of the concrete wall behind the cross the Armenian Church now owns, and take in views of the Pacific Ocean, Farallons, and western portion of our city. Something not possible due to the stands of fire wood Sutro planted... And I would appreciate it - if the MPIC would stop standing in the way of that... And especially, not claim to do it in my name.

(Oh, in further contradiction of facts in another story in the same issue on the soccer field restoration. - Someone please remind Dan Liberthson, that the "Natural State" of the western portion of Golden Gate Park, and the whole western portion of the city - is SAND DUNES - completely devoid of trees.... This area too, was the work of Sutro....)

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

The presumption that natural state is a positive is a false premise. The trees were an improvement over the windswept naked hill. This is a park, and I see little reason for it to be reconcepted as a wilderness in a lacation where wilderness is just across the bridge.
The destruction of settled habitat in favor of a nostalgic anti-forest primeval will have consequences, which impact  many  of us who actually live near the area. The rest of the arguments  have been given.

Re: Mt. Davidson deforestation, and rehabilitation

Yet one more well written - relatively propaganda free article about Sutros Forest. (Likely pointing out that there is much propaganda on the issue - with footnote reference)


And more evidence of Sutro not only planting for tax dodge - but for logging profit.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_3uQiDL3c53s/S … ndrade.jpg