On Bureaucrat Beat Tuesday we reported that Caltrans plan to 4-Lane Highway 395 north of Independence would take out nearly 100 of the remaining trees in Southern Inyo. Today, one Independence resident speaks out.
I will disclose that this project impacts my private property, and so, until now, I have remained silent. But when a tourist ran into my property and one of the trees lining the highway, it became clear that if the tree were gone, the car would’ve been in the house.
Beyond safety concerns, we now hear that Independence people never realized they would lose almost 100 trees from a town already shy of greenery.
Caltrans’ Environmental document on the 4-lane project claims that the highway widening project would mean removal of trees to make way for sidewalks, curbs and gutters. The document says these things are needed to give the area a “face-lift” and strengthening the visual character that is now fragmented.
Beauty, truly in the eye of the beholder, equals 80 year old trees to Independence residents. Caltrans engineers apparently prefer concrete.
There is a compromise that would allow the 4-lanes and save the trees. So far, Caltrans refuses.
Laurie Mannix of Independence prefers Caltrans leave the trees alone.
Mannix suggested that anyone concerned about wholesale axing of scores of trees, call Senator Roy Ashburn’s office at 661-323-0443.
Other comments on this issue came from Mammoth Lakes where Sharon Stalley said that Caltrans widened roads and chopped down trees “never thinking of the eternal scar they leave.” She advised the people of Independence to band together and recognize what the town has not what Caltrans thinks you need.
A Lone Pine resident pointed to the fact that trees used to line the highway at both ends of town, now they are gone.
Another viewer also said that he thinks the people of Indepenence need to fight for their trees.