Operation YLP Beautification

Bull pine leaning over Starlight Drive near Yosemite Springs Parkway.

In a nutshell

What it’s about: Dangerous and dead trees near roadways, endangering safety of residents and motorists.

What YLOA will be doing: Removing or trimming trees that are on YLOA easements which now cause a hazard or may become dangerous in the future.

Why: To remove dead or living trees leaning over roadways that could fall on vehicles or people, or block roads, to prevent growing tree roots next to roads from buckling pavement as they grow, and to beautify our community.

What do I do?: If the Roads team needs to trim or remove a tree on a YLOA easement near your house, they will knock on your door and/or leave a notice explaining the work they need to do. If you want wood from removed trees, let the crew know or call the YLOA Roads Department.

Contacts: Supervisor Corey Johnson at 559-760-3821 or Assistant Supervisor Bill Green at 559-676-2406.

We know that Yosemite Lakes Park is an attractive place here in the Sierra foothills, where we live among the wildlife, granite boulders, oaks and pines native to this area.

But we need to coexist, and sometimes those gentle giants may cause hazards.

Eliminating those hazards is the focus of a new YLOA program that in the coming months will remove or trim living or dead trees that could fall over our roads. Together, it will make our community safer and more attractive.

“Some are healthy and vibrant but at some point that tree is going to give up… falling into the roadway, taking out power lines, houses, passing cars or whatever,” said Bill Green, assistant supervisor of the YLOA Roads Department.

Corey Johnson, YLOA roads supervisor, added, “Even though some of these trees look fine and (residents) might think they're beautiful they're going to potentially be a problem for us…we’re being proactive in removing these trees.”

The dangerous trees can be seen all over YLP’s 50-plus miles of roads, often where bull pines are leaning over the roadway.

Pines tend to have shallow roots, and with an El Nino forecast to bring more rain than usual this winter, Johnson said chances are some of those trees will come down on roadways.

PRIORITIES

The first priority will be dead trees, Green said. This has been an ongoing issue and has been made much worse by the ongoing drought.

All the trees to be removed and trimmed will be on the YLOA easement and not on private property, the men said.

That’s 40 feet from the center of the road, but that’s not always consistent. Johnson suggests checking location of telephone boxes which must be on the easement.

Green stressed that all trees on easements won’t be removed, only those that are hazards or may become problems.

“It’s all about safety,” Johnson said.

GETTING IT DONE

Green has a list of tree locations around YLP that he and his team are starting with.

He first knocks on doors, and if there’s no answer will leave a notice listing the scope of the work for that location. Green said he also will put ribbons on trees marked for removal.

YLOA Roads Department can’t remove all the trees that need it — for larger ones they’ll call PG&E or a tree removal company.

Another reason to remove trees is prevent roots from buckling the pavement as they grow.

“You'll notice when you're driving down the road you’ll see humps.... a tree might be small now but by the time we get ready to do these roads, which we'll start paving in about 10 years, by that time, it could be popping the asphalt.”

Green noted that it’s a particular problem when residents are actually planting trees next to the curbs or under power lines.

“People who are planting trees in the front, we want to give them the opportunity if you want to transplant that tree, go ahead, we just don't want that tree in that spot.”

CARE & COOPERATION

So what happens to the wood from the trees?

“I'm of the opinion that if the homeowner wants the wood, they’re more than welcome to it,” Johnson said.

He’s always looking for someone who may need the chips, so if you’re interested contact him at 559-760-3821 or coreyj@yloa.org.

So far, Green said homeowners have been cooperative: “We’ve been able to explain what we're doing and they have been very understanding."

Green said his team wants to work with every homeowner. “Since we started this program, people who come out are happy, say, ‘Oh thank you, you guys are going to take that?’ ‘Yeah, we have to.’

“We want them to understand we don't want to get rid of trees, we love the trees.”

“Aesthetics comes into this as well,” Johnson said. “Not only do we want our park to be safe, we want it to look nice, too."

He reminds all residents driving in YLP to watch out for crews, slow down and take extra care in work areas.

PHOTO GALLERY OF WORK BEING DONE