Minden to cut down park’s last 2 ancient cottonwood trees | NevadaAppeal.com

Minden to cut down park’s last 2 ancient cottonwood trees

Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com
One of the last two old cottonwood trees at the corner of Mono and 5th streets in Minden Park.
Kurt Hildebrand |

fremont cottonwood

The Fremont cottonwood is native to Western Nevada. It grows naturally along riparian areas where flooding is common. Trees can attain heights of up to 115 feet and live for up to 130 years. The trees in Minden Park are estimated to be about a century old. Old trees tend to die from the inside out, becoming hollow and brittle, posing a danger to surrounding structures.

The last two old cottonwood trees in Minden Park are on the chopping block.

Cottonwoods once surrounded the park, but a study conducted in 1990 found them to be a danger should they become hollow and fall.

The trees were supposed to have been removed in 2011. At the July 11 concert in the park a large limb fell out of the tree at Mono and Fifth streets.

Many of the trees were felled as a result of that report, some were hollow inside, but Minden Town Board Chairman Matt Bernard pointed out that some weren’t.

“The last two trees they pulled down were solid all the way to the top,” Bernard, who grew up in Minden said. “It burdens me to cut a tree before it falls down.”

However, the same considerations that prompted the town to start taking the trees down in 1990 came to light during the debate.

The cost of cutting down the two trees, grinding the stumps, pulling the roots and replacing them is $8,000.

“It’s in the best interests of the town,” Board member Steve Thaler said. “Think about the liability if we don’t pull them down.”

Resident Sheila Kendrick pointed out the trees planted to replace the old cottonwoods had grown to size.

“The trees you replaced them with are big and beautiful,” she said.

Bernard was the sole no vote for taking down the trees.

More complicated was a request from a resident on the other side of the street from the park.

Anita Cohee is seeking the town’s help in taking down up to a half dozen of her trees on Sixth Street.

She said the trees’ roots are driving up the pavement and her lawns.

“When the guy is mowing the lawn it looks like he’s on a bucking bronco,” she said.

Cohee said she has owned the property for years, but just recently moved in.

The town’s policy is to take down problem trees in its right of way, and then to split the cost of planting new trees with the homeowner.

The town board asked Cohee to return with a complete plan for all of the trees.

It has been two years since a homeowner last took advantage of the program. At that time the owner contributed $1,500 to the work.