As many of you know, UCSF is planning some major changes in Sutro Forest, the dense eucalyptus forest behind our homes – the “Forest” in Forest Knolls. Many of these will affect our neighborhood directly. Details are on the SaveSutro website. A few people from our neighborhood – including Walter Caplan and Kristine Zaback from the Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization – have been attending these meetings.
1) On South Ridge (the forest area above the junction of Christopher and Crestmont) UCSF plans to cut down around 2000 trees on 3 acres to space them an average 30 feet apart, mow down all the plants growing under the trees, and use Roundup/ Garlon on a 1-acre test site to prevent it from coming back.
Our concerns are the use of herbicides upslope from our neighborhood, potential for displaced wildlife (including rodents) to move into our area, micro-climate changes and how it will look. Drying out the forest by thinning the trees may also create a fire hazard similar to the forest in 1934, when it was being logged.
No other demonstration area lies directly above a residential neighborhood, and we had hoped UCSF would consider a different area. It hasn’t.
2) The trail leading straight up from Christopher into the forest will be re-routed into a hairpin trail that lies above Christopher. Houses below this route may lose some privacy as trail users will be able look down into them.
3) A new trail will be cut from Clarendon behind the new pump station and through the curtain of trees between the Aldea student housing and Christopher. This screen of trees has already been thinned considerably because of the PUC water project.
In the map above: 1 is the Gash cut into the forest for the water-line; 2 the concrete pad that was supposed to be returned to the forest but has instead been enclosed with a chain-link fence; 3 the area of the old pump station where the thinned trees make the buildings on the Aldea campus quite visible; and 4 the new pump station, with very few trees behind it. The blue lines are the planned new trails, and the pink one the existing trail. (Edited to Add: The aqua line shows the boundary of UCSF’s Aldea Student Housing.)
Residents nearby had hoped the screen would be regrown, not further thinned. In fact, there is no hope of a screen of trees between the new pump station and the Aldea campus; there’s no space. The pump station grounds extend nearly all the way to the Aldea campus boundary.
The issue of hazardous trees along Crestmont was also raised. UCSF says they are the City’s responsibility; apparently the City, after staging the area (see the picture) has said they are UCSF’s problem and didn’t remove them. UCSF said they would discuss the matter with the city.
Edited to Add 1: Crestmont does not appear to be on the list of streets with City-maintained trees.
Edited to Add 2: We understand neighbors complained to the SF Fire Department. UCSF’s Barbara Bagot-Lopez sent out a message saying: San Francisco Fire Department had recently issued a “Notice of Corrective Action Required” stating that an area of the Reserve above Crestmont Avenue contains an “accumulation of combustible material”; UCSF will be resolving this issue.
We hope the corrective action will deal with the hazardous trees rather than merely further implementation of the predetermined plan.
Edited to Add 3: Kathleen asked for contact information. Here it is:
Whom to contact:
For UCSF, there are whole bunch of people. The Chancellor, Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellman, is at 3333 California Street, Suite 103, San Francisco, CA 94143. Here’s a link to others involved.
For SF PUC: Not sure, try Suzanne Gautier(SGautier@sfwater.org). Here’s a link to the meetings schedule of the SFPUC Commission. (If anyone has other contacts/ resources, please note them here.)
For the City, the Urban Forester is at (415) 641-2674.
Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Sean Elsbernd are at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102.
Mayor Newsom: Telephone: (415) 554-6141; Fax: (415) 554-6160; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supervisor Elsbernd: (415) 554-6516; Fax (415) 554-6546 – fax; Email: Sean.Elsbernd@sfgov.org