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Chico arborist fighting to save historic walnut trees

Published On: Jul 09 2013 12:29:19 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 09 2013 12:39:50 AM CDT
Chico arborist fighting to save historic walnut trees
CHICO, Calif. -

A Chico arborist is fighting a move by the city to chop down six historic walnut trees in downtown Chico so sidewalk upgrades can be done.

The walnut trees on the corner of West Third and Chestnut Streets were planted by Chico founder John Bidwell and are well over 100 years old.

They sit in front of Chico State's Sierra Hall.

Chico area arborist Scott Wineland has postcards showing the trees as they were in 1924.

He says they're as old as the city so when the now-retired urban forest manager slated them for removal so sidewalk upgrades could be done, a movement to save them was born.

Wineland, who specializes in walnut trees, admits two of the six trees are dying and need to be taken out.

But he says the other four should be saved because of their historic significance.

"Any other city would completely out of their way to go ahead and preserve these trees because they're a part of our heritage," Wineland says. "And it's to the point where there's so few of them left that we need to expend the monies and energies to go ahead and save them."

Wineland says the trees are healthy and that he will even trim them at no cost to the city for as long as he lives.

He says that would need to be done every seven years, which can be expensive and labor intensive.

To preserve them Wineland is in the process of having them declared heritage trees, which would limit the city's ability to take them out.

Dan Effseaf with the city says the trees were likely going to be taken out due to the risk to the public, but couldn't comment on this specific case.