Forest Knolls Corner Grove Cut Down

Some of you may remember when I wrote about our trees being poisoned?
This was the grove on the corner of Christopher and Clarendon, and was itself what was left of a lush dense grove that was cut when the pumphouse was built in 2009 (as shown in the poster visualizing the pump station):

Pump Station on poster

Here’s what it looked like in 2013, when I was concerned about *two trees*!

Well, the trees have all been cut down, I think by UCSF.
There’s no grove between Clarendon and the pumphouse, just a couple of trees left.

These were beautiful old trees – maybe around 125 years old. All that is left are stumps.

Meanwhile, the planned trailhead from Clarendon is being built. It’s going to look *very* different from the charming visualization presented by UCSF.

CLARENDON LOSES ITS CENTURY-OLD TREES

Also gone – the tall trees that lined Clarendon Avenue in front of the Aldea San Miguel UCSF student housing.

I remember a time when you couldn’t even see the fence from the street. When UCSF thinned the vegetation there many years ago, they promised plantings that would conceal the chain link fence. Well, they planted some vines, but the concealment didn’t happen.

The chain-link fence is more prominent than ever.

And across the road, a swath of trees adjacent to the homes on Clarendon have been felled too, I think by SF Rec and Parks (or possibly Sutro Tower, not sure).

Over the last decade, we have lost a lot of the glorious trees that made Forest Knolls a community surrounded by forest. I’m glad I had a chance to see them in their former beauty.

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New Trail from Clarendon up to Laguna Honda

Recently, I saw a new trail marker/ map on Clarendon Avenue, across the street from “The Woods” townhome complex, and decided to explore.

It goes through the ravine that probably was part of the lake in olden times. It’s now dry, and forested with eucalyptus and understoried with blackberry. Laguna Honda Hospital (LHH) gets it cleared out occasionally with goats. It’s quite delightful, a narrow winding trail that climbs up the other side of the ravine and comes out in LHH’s front yard.

Hiker and blogger Tony Holiday tried out the same hike – though he went a bit further, beyond the juvenile detention facility – and has given me permission to use his story and some pictures here. (For lots more great pictures, see his blog post, Daisies, on his site Stairways Are Heaven. It’s also a great resource for transit-friendly hikes.)

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From DAISIES by Tony Holiday

Thanks again to a good Facebook friend who told me about a new multi-use trail. And it’s a beauty!

The trailhead is on the Midtown Terrace side of Clarendon, just past Laguna Honda Reservoir. This is the south side of Clarendon, across the street from “The Woods” residences. There’s a sign with a map at the trailhead. It’s also a short distance from Olympia Way and the Midtown Terrace Playground.

Does this trail have an official name? If not, how ‘bout the “Woods” Trail?
Loved it immediately. Lush, narrow, definitely magical, with beautiful old trees.

It curves round, winding up to a south ridge.

 

 

No one on the trail but me (and Karl the Fog).

Nearer the summit was chainlink fencing and some old trash just off the trail. The cans, etc. will probably eventually be cleaned up. An old dumpsite for Laguna Honda Hospital?

To my left as I climbed were backs of Dellbrook Ave. homes. To my right, above, some of the many hospital buildings, old and new.

Then there were all these amazing white daisies along the trail.

There are benches just inside the hospital grounds behind one of the buildings. Still no one around but me. Continued up to a way out at a hospital parking lot.

From here delighted to see more woods just ahead.

Hidden away in the forest here are two huge graffiti-covered tanks.

Started down (west) alongside the hospital grounds to my right; to the left the Juvenile Probation Dept. Down at street level was Woodside & Idora. Continued curving downhill to the #43 bus stop that’s just across from the Forest Hill Metro Station.

Another treat —the colorful mural at the entrance to the hospital grounds on Laguna Honda at the bus stop. I think this has to be my favorite of all murals seen so far. [For lots more mural photos, see Tony’s original blog post.]

 

 

– THE END –

Squat & Gobble Tree Not Saved

So some months ago, I’d asked – Did someone save the Squat and Gobble trees?

Squat and Gobble, the West Portal eatery that was being rebuilt after the fire there, had sought approval to remove a tree to provide heavy machinery access to the site. (I’d thought it was two trees that were scheduled for removal, but it was one.) But, as I reported then, work was well underway and both trees were still there. I was glad; West Portal has lost some beautiful trees, most notably an old one near the tunnel entrance when work was done there.

two trees to be cut down

I wrote to Carla Short at the Department of Public Works, asking if the trees had been saved. She didn’t know. She replied:

As for the West Portal trees, only one tree was approved for removal in order to accommodate the crane for construction. I have not heard that they are planning to preserve that tree, so it may be still coming out. Their permit is valid for six months. If they found a way to work around it, though, perhaps they are preserving it, I just haven’t heard anything. If it does get removed, they will be required to plant a replacement tree, and some additional trees on the West Portal frontage.

Well, the tree was there through much of the construction, but when Squat and Gobble reopened, I found it was gone. Even the tree-basin the tree had grown in was gone. There’s no replacement tree there, nor any along the West Portal frontage.  I hope they’re planning to put them in.

missing tree in West Portal

It’s just one tree, and it was removed through a proper permitting process.  But I’m beginning to see an anti-tree ethos in this city. Whenever there’s a project, whether private or City-led, trees are the casualty. There seems to be no emphasis on trying to preserve and work around them.

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.”
William Blake, The Letters, 1799

Brilliant Mustard Flowers at Laguna Honda Hospital

You don’t have to go to Napa to see the brilliant yellow of mustard flowers – they’re blooming right here in the hilly meadow of Laguna Honda Hospital, above Laguna Honda Boulevard.

Mustard meadow in Laguna Honda HospitalI stopped to take a picture, and  as I zoomed in, was struck by the grace and grandeur of the eucalyptus tree above the meadow.

Beautiful eucalyptus tree in mustard meadow at Laguna Honda Hospital San FranciscoAnd here’s a picture from a smartphone… this week’s sunny weather provides such a classical contrast of colors!

photo mustard in bloom Laguna Honda

This Tree…

tree on Claremont, San Francisco

This tree is near West Portal, and I pass it probably twenty times a week. I’ve admired it for years. It dominates the street; there’s no other tree of that size or beauty near there.

A few years ago, I was writing a piece on Memorable Trees, and wanted to add this one. But around that time, the owners had it pruned. It was very well done, not butchered, but still the tree looked shorn, like a child after the kind of haircut you get them when you don’t want to have to struggle with it too often.

For a tree, unlike a kid’s hair, it takes quite a time to come all the way back. In the last year or so, I’ve been noticing it again, and I thought I’d better get photographs before it’s time for another pruning.

To the owners of the tree, should they encounter this post – Thank you!

Thanks for caring for it. It’s a grace to the whole community.

this tree 2

Did Someone Save the Squat & Gobble Trees?

two trees to be cut down[Edited to Add: It turned out they had permission for one tree to be removed, and no, it has not been saved. It’s gone.]

A few months ago, I reported that the two trees were marked for removal, next to the burned-out Squat & Gobble restaurant on West Portal. Though they’d survived the fire and the fire-fighting, they were in the way of the cranes that would be needed for rebuilding on the site.

It was sad. So many trees were being lost. There used to be a splendid old tree at the station, opposite the library; it was removed when work was done on the Station.

But… here it is, mid June. The rebuilding is coming along nicely.

And our trees are still there.

West Portal trees saved

two trees saved in West Portal

If they have indeed been saved, a big thank you to whoever preserved these trees.

How Many Trees to be Cut? Meeting on 21 April 2013

sutro-forest-south-view2

The San Francisco Forest Alliance  and  Save Sutro Forest  are holding a meeting on 21 April 2013 to talk about the planned felling of trees on Mount Sutro — and on Mount Davidson. These actions would gut two important urban forests near our neighborhood and irretrievably alter the landscape.

forest-girl-3aDo you want to know:

  • How many thousand trees do they plan to cut down on Mount Sutro? On Mount Davidson?
  • Who’s “They”?
  • What about Pesticide use?
  • When will this happen?

For answers to these questions and more…
Come to the San Francisco Forest Alliance meeting.

WHERE: Miraloma Park Clubhouse,  350 O’Shaughnessy Blvd,
San Francisco, CA 94127

(It’s about 2 miles from Forest Knolls.)

WHEN:  April 21st, 2013 (Sunday) – 4.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.