21 April 2011

Orange Paint Defaces Magnificent Trees in Omaha Park

While doing a bird survey a few days ago at the north portion in Omaha's Hummel Park, very soon after my hike got started it became readily and blatantly obvious that most of the largest and tallest trees along Ponca Creek were marked with orange numbers.

Starting on the east, and increasing digit by digit towards the west, each of the trees had a number, starting with 1, and as was eventually realized, increasing to over 50.

This sort of numbering - as seen in other Omaha parks - indicated a count for the number of trees to be removed for some reason.

These walnut trees in the park's forest environs were not dead. They would probably not pose a threat to the local wildlife if they naturally fell over with age. The reason for them being defaced by paint was not known.

It took one phone call to clarify the situation.

Apparently, there is no other setting where there are so many walnut trees occurring at a single site in Nebraska. In order to document the number of the walnut trees, an official of the city of Omaha, and apparently the state of Nebraska forester(?) visited the place, and marked each tree.

The men involved used orange paint, sprayed upon the bark at about chest height, to derive a count.

They defaced each and every large walnut tree. If anyone might want to get a naturalistic picture of these arboreal wonders, they will now have to make an effort to exclude the markings on the bark.

When an official of the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department was asked about this situation, he suggested they would do something to get rid of the paint.

What that might indicate is not readily apparent.

Using orange spray paint to mark trees to derive a count, does not make sense. To use orange paint to mark trees which are considered to be so distinct and unique is simply inane.

"These trees are so great, lets spray them with orange paint so we can get an accurate count!"

A flag at each tree could have sufficed. Using chalk would have been suitable as a temporary indicator. Etc., etc. Paint should have been the last option, yet it was the people responsible first choice.

When an important resource is recognized, it should never, ever have to be defaced in such a manner when less intrusive options are available.

The trees don't care, but this is a vivid and dramatically blatant example of a complete disconnect in recognizing a completely unique forest land resource in an Omaha park.

To express an opinion, the people involved in marking these wonderful walnut trees should have to do something to mitigate for their ruining the trees appearance.