This letter is in response to your article about the “Landmark Cottonwood will get the Axe” posted January 3, 2012.

Dear Editor, 

This letter is in response to your article about the “Landmark Cottonwood will get the Axe” posted January 3, 2012.

This just isn’t any ole’ tree, this is a 100-year-old tree.  The reasoning presented in the article didn’t convince me the 100-year-old Cottonwood deserves to be cut down.  If we took the logic presented [in the article] there wouldn’t be a tree standing in America anywhere along the roads less traveled.  (Now that would create some jobs here in America.)  The tree is out in the middle of nowhere, along a dirt road, survived a major tornado, and they want to take it out because it has caused the road to bend and has caused the road to bend around it so the road isn’t straight anymore.  May I ask, which was there first, the road or the tree?  How many cars travel that road per day?

I presented this article, including pictures, to my fellow forum members and here were some of their comments:

- How weird. They need to remove the tree because it makes the road curve? What?

- I think the road has encroached on the tree.  Which was there first?

- I live in a part of the country that has few trees. Kansas is also in the shortgrass prairie. What idiots want to rip a tree out when it is out in the middle of nowhere?  MOVE THE ROAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- The county authority anxious to remove the tree must have very little to do. Leave the old thing be! It's wide open country and a very quiet road.

- I do think it's sad to remove that one lone tree that is too close to the road.  Yes it might fall down, but I don't see where it is going to take out any wires.  It just seems a shame to remove a tree that old that has survived so much.  Even if it did fall down, the area is so flat and barren, drive around it until someone comes to cut it up!

- I can't believe that with all the destruction that happened in Greensburg they are worried about that tree. We still have places here in Kansas City where you have to zig-zag around trees that were saved during construction years ago.

- The old tree ... leave it alone!

- It's a beautiful old tree---guess it was just a memorial to survival in the area.

- It is a memorial but they are going to cut it down in the spring because it is just a matter of time before it will cause a problem.  What am I missing?

- Don't you just love the reasoning:  Sooner or later the tree will fall and block the road (why is that path certain?) so it should be cut down now.  

- I agree leave the tree alone.  100 years old.  WOW.

- It's a cottonwood--leave it alone!  I haven't heard a good reason yet to cut it down, but that doesn't mean they won't.

- What constitutes a road? It looks like a dirt path.

- Looks like a case for local protests to the country commissioners and for Kansas citizens to ask the legislature why the state tree is being threatened by a road crew which doesn't seem to have bothered with gravel for some time.  Anybody who drives that dirt path at a speed over 15 mph has a death wish.

- I think that more to the point with that lone tree is that even a tornado that took everything else could not topple that tree... how strong that Cottonwood is.

- First up, the tree. I've been a tree advocate since forever, and I would like to suggest that the road should be moved so it clears the tree by a good margin, then let the tree be. This tree looks like what my dad would have called a 'widowmaker,' by virtue of having huge, heavy limbs and being, from the sound of it, in decline. A tree like that could easily drop one of those limbs on someone's head or car. There was one fatality out here (W. WA) in a recent windstorm when a chunk of tree landed on a car. This happens often enough for people to be concerned, particularly if they are the ones responsible for public safety. A tree falling on the road is no big deal, assuming there are people with chainsaws in the vicinity.

Some things should remain eternal and timeless which was so eloquently put by one of the native locals: “It makes me sad. You come over the hill and you see it,” said Magliery, who now lives in Denver. “It’s something special. It’s been a landmark in our lives forever. Right after the tornado I called my parents and the first thing I asked them was ‘is the tree ok?’”

I just have to respond to the County Road Forman Jay Schmidt who stated; . “Eventually some wind is going to come up, some ice is going to come, something is going to happen. That big of a tree, one of these days [it’s going to fall]. Half of it will be lying in the road because of the wind and ice. It’s just the way these old cottonwoods are when they get that big and that old. They start to deteriorate and eventually it will cause a problem, an accident or an injury.”  After 100 years the only thing I see that will “eventually” happen to this beautiful Cottonwood Tree is:  the Kiowa County Commissioners, on the recommendation of Road and Bridge Superintendent Gunnar Stauth, gave their consent for county road crews to remove the large cottonwood tree on Q Street, a mile west of U.S. 183.  Sheesh!

C. Hurst