NEVADA CITY (CBS13) – Some people in Nevada City are going to new heights to stop PG&E from cutting down trees. These protesters are not marching, but climbing to make sure one tree, in particular, does not get chopped down.
Graeme Pitts and others are doing this for a particular reason.
“What’s happening is we are having a lot of trees taken out unnecessarily, completely thoughtlessly. Like just making a huge mess; taking away our heritage,” Pitts said.
That heritage is heritage trees. PG&E said some trees have to go because they’re too close to power lines and pose a fire risk.
“Part of it is obviously to protect the number of the heritage trees that are here. We’re concerned about the trees that are not really presenting a threat in themselves,” Lorraine Nauman, a tree protester, said.
“This particular tree was planted 160 years ago by one of the original tree foundation members in the county here,” Pitts said.
Pitts told CBS13 that the tree they climbed to protect from being cut down is an Atlas cedar spruce. It’s not native to the Nevada City area.
PG&E said 263 trees are marked to be cut down in Nevada City to provide shorter, smaller and smart Public Safety Power Shutoffs. But instead of cutting down, many want the utility to look down and put their power lines underground.
“Undergrounding, in this case, is not a panacea to all of the problems,” Brandi Merlo, PG&E spokesperson, said. “It’s still subject to its own issues including weather impacts, dig in potential, lightning strikes.”
“It’s not that we feel that no trees should be cut. We just don’t feel like it’s appropriate to do clear-cutting,” Leslie Pitts, another protester, said.
“That’s a big tone here. We’re not opposed to fire prevention but we want it thoughtfully,” Graeme Pitts said.
One of the supporters we spoke with says they’d be in support of trimming or pruning the trees that are hazardous to those power lines.