Letter to the Editor: What Can Bedford Learn from Castine, Maine?

~ Submitted by Dr. Donald J. Marshall

On March 13, 2022, the Washington Post Magazine published Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson’s fascinating story about the town of Castine, Maine, and its elm trees.

They are still protecting elms that were planted in the 1850s and, as the article points out, these elms have witnessed the passing of the Civil War, the Fugitive Slave Act, the first black US President, World War I and World War II, and Korea and Vietnam and…

Does any of that sound familiar? Our North Road oaks are much older and have seen even more.

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Somehow I think the residents of the Town of Castine would figure out a way to wind a sidewalk around one or more of these trees instead of cutting them down.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Marshall holds a Ph.D. in Geophysics

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Linda Kovitch
April 12, 2022 11:06 am

The ability of trees, especially mature trees, to perform carbon sequestration is unparalleled and is a tool for confronting and mitigating our climate change risks. A 100 foot tree stores the carbon equivalent of 152 gallons of gasoline, while a 20 foot tree stores the equivalent of 18 gallons, a significant difference.  We need to save all of our mature trees—to sequester carbon, filter the air and provide services to the many ecosystems that make for a healthy Bedford and planet Earth.

Linda Kovitch
April 10, 2022 3:58 pm

Interesting article about the city of Phoenix. As extreme weather intensifies, cities are using trees to mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce energy consumption. https://www.planetizen.com/news/2021/09/114773-how-phoenix-tree-canopy-affects-urban-temperatures

Linda Kovitch
April 3, 2022 8:40 pm

Dear Dr. Marshall, Thank you for raising this very important concern. Here is an article from DownEast that discusses trees and the preservation in ME. https://downeast.com/land-wildlife/big-reed-preserve/

I too concur that alternatives to preserve and protect the oaks on North Road are an imperative to the preservation of the well being of our neighborhood ecosystem.

Christine Dudley-Marling
March 31, 2022 7:10 pm

How did Castine Maine protect those Elms from Dutch Elm disease?

Julia Padua Whiteneck
March 31, 2022 4:25 pm

It’s all about who is going to give up what: would the winding require a land taking? Can the winding be made ADA compliant? Are the townspeople willing to pay more for these adjustments? And then how far away from the tree is going to be enough to reduce the problem of tree root damage to the new sidewalk?

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