Looking back, we were so wrong | In Our Opinion

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 8:30am
  • Opinion

We goofed last week, and we regret it.

In this space in last Friday’s edition, we were wrong to unequivocally state that city officials had finally put a precise and public number on the number of trees that were cut down along Highway 305 as part of the first leg of the Sound to Olympics Trail.

The city did no such thing. The number we cited — 282 trees — was actually the number of trees that will be replanted along the roadway.

The actual number of trees to fall to the chainsaws and excavators?

Well, that we still don’t know. And we’re sorry for that, too.

City officials continue to say their best guess at the number of trees removed was approximately 250.

That’s an estimate, however. And it’s identical to the number given in the city’s environmental assessment on the trail construction.

But it’s also an estimate of just a certain type of tree: those trees that typically fall under the city’s regulatory review and regulations. Those would be trees that are 8-inches in diameter at breast height.

Of course, anyone who’s taken an observant walk through the woods knows that trees come in all shapes and sizes; some may be small for their age, others lanky and tall.

A tree that’s a few inches thick but 12 feet tall doesn’t count in the regulatory scheme of things, nor does one that’s 20 or 30 years old but is only as tall as a fifth-grader.

Those trees, when it comes to the counting eyes of developers (and our city trailblazers) don’t fit into the environmental equation of what’s to be lost and bulldozed over, cut down and replaced.

So, 282 trees lost? No. Our estimate — including the trees that nobody seems to want to count — would go well beyond 282. We’re thinking of a number probably closer to 400 than 300.

That’s just our estimate, however.

While we’re in the apology mode, there’s something else we’re sorry about.

Remember that proposed city logo from a few years back, the one cooked up by consultants from the East Coast? The one that had three battle axes in the logo as a reminder of clear-cutting on the island?

Oh, how we ridiculed and abused that idea for a city logo. Turns out, it may have been a pretty good representation of Bainbridge Island after all. Sorry!

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