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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Let the sunshine in


City employee Bob Ligeza uses a grinder to get rid of stumps Tuesday in Coeur d'Alene's City Park where the parks department is removing trees for disease problems and to open up the grounds to more sunlight.  
 (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
City employee Bob Ligeza uses a grinder to get rid of stumps Tuesday in Coeur d'Alene's City Park where the parks department is removing trees for disease problems and to open up the grounds to more sunlight. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Dave Buford Correspondent

Coeur d’Alene officials hope to shine some light on a muddy problem in City Park. Several trees in a trodden area on the north end of the park have been removed in an effort to allow more sunlight. The dense shade caused by larger trees has kept grass from growing and made way for mud.

“We want to make the park more usable for everybody, and we’re hoping that by lighting it up more people will use it,” said Karen Haskew, Coeur d’Alene’s urban forester.

The mud on the north end of the park has been a problem for several years, and the city has already tried pruning the trees without success.

“Last spring it was extremely muddy in those areas,” Haskew said.

After a few general comments from park patrons and members of the Parks Commission, the Parks Department and Urban Forestry Committee started a tree inventory. Haskew said part of the inventory included noting the condition of the trees and earmarking those with diseases or insect problems.

City Park has about 400 trees, and 162 trees to the north of the gazebo and Fort Sherman playground were studied to find out which could be cut down. In all, 23 trees will be removed when the job is complete.

“It’s one of those things that you don’t notice until we systematically go through the park and look at every tree,” Haskew said.

Fifteen Norway maples, which absorb most of the sunlight in the area, were the first to make the cut. Nearly 50 of the maples will remain in the area.

In addition, some Douglas firs have root rot, other trees were split by the ice storm of 1996, and others had fungi infestations, she said.

“We don’t let trees become imminent hazards,” she said. “We try to anticipate and try to take care of it before anything happens.”

The city also marked for removal healthy trees with defects such as contortions or double tops, where side branches take over if the treetops are chopped.

The Parks Department began clearing the trees earlier this month. The recent snowfall followed by a sudden melt made mud a problem for the parks crew, but they hope to have all the trees cleared in the next few weeks. Once completed, the muddy areas will be reseeded with grass.

Haskew said the Parks Department considered using the felled trees for stump art, but decided against it because of a lack of artist interest. The park is decorated with stump art of raccoons, eagles, bears, salmon and another stump waiting to be carved.

Haskew added replacement trees will be planted in other areas of the park or in other Coeur d’Alene parks.

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