View Mobile Site
 

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

 

Old Glory thrives

Environment: Years after the famous tree was moved, its health remains ‘relatively good,’ county exp

Posted: August 2, 2010 10:54 p.m.
Updated: August 3, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Old Glory, Santa Clarita’s most famous oak tree, stands in its new location at Pico Canyon County Park, where it was moved six years ago. Scientists say the tree is doing well after being moved from its original location due to a road expansion. Old Glory, Santa Clarita’s most famous oak tree, stands in its new location at Pico Canyon County Park, where it was moved six years ago. Scientists say the tree is doing well after being moved from its original location due to a road expansion.
Old Glory, Santa Clarita’s most famous oak tree, stands in its new location at Pico Canyon County Park, where it was moved six years ago. Scientists say the tree is doing well after being moved from its original location due to a road expansion.
Ismail Lopez, of Simi Valley, sits on his father Benjamin during a rally at the oak tree in 2002. Ismail Lopez, of Simi Valley, sits on his father Benjamin during a rally at the oak tree in 2002.
Ismail Lopez, of Simi Valley, sits on his father Benjamin during a rally at the oak tree in 2002.
Protesters cheer and wave as passing cars honk in support of saving Old Glory, a large oak tree in Pico Canyon in Stevenson Ranch. The tree was relocated to Pico Canyon County Park in 2004 to accommodate a road-widening project that started the public outcry, which in turn garnered national media attention. Scientists say the tree is doing well in it’s new location. Protesters cheer and wave as passing cars honk in support of saving Old Glory, a large oak tree in Pico Canyon in Stevenson Ranch. The tree was relocated to Pico Canyon County Park in 2004 to accommodate a road-widening project that started the public outcry, which in turn garnered national media attention. Scientists say the tree is doing well in it’s new location.
Protesters cheer and wave as passing cars honk in support of saving Old Glory, a large oak tree in Pico Canyon in Stevenson Ranch. The tree was relocated to Pico Canyon County Park in 2004 to accommodate a road-widening project that started the public outcry, which in turn garnered national media attention. Scientists say the tree is doing well in it’s new location.
A A A

It’s not the years in Old Glory’s life, but the life in its years that would make the famed oak’s move a success, scientists say.

County officials and local environmentalists are happy to see that the Santa Clarita Valley’s most famous oak tree appears well six years after it was transformed into a symbol of the battle between environmentalists and developers.

Slated to be chopped down to make way for a road-widening project to accommodate suburban development in Stevenson Ranch, Old Glory caught the national media spotlight in 2002 after an activist camped in the tree for more than two months to protest its removal.

Rather than be chopped down, Old Glory was transplanted to Pico Canyon County Park in 2004.

“We’re pleased that the tree is doing well, and there was a successful outcome to the situation,” said Tony Bell, spokesman for Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who suggested the move as a compromise between re-routing Pico Canyon Road around the tree and tearing it down to make way for the road.

Los Angeles County arborist Jose Mercado said in January that Old Glory was in “relatively good health.”

On Mercado’s advice, the county will keep a fence surrounding the tree in place through January 2011 to lessen the chance of liability in case a limb falls. Some soil was removed at the tree’s base to expose its “root flare.”

But how many years it lives isn’t the only component to measuring the healthy, productive life of a tree, scientists said.

“If someone transplants a tree, they don’t transplant all the things that make that tree wonderful,” said Thomas Scott, a natural resources specialist with the University of California.

Scott pointed out that there weren’t people carrying cages of salamanders, squirrels, birds and the like following behind the moving truck when Old Glory was transplanted.

“You can’t call (the move) a success until those values are found at the new location,” Scott said.

Old Glory’s removal made room for Pico Canyon Road’s widening from two to four lanes. The widening was necessary to accommodate Stevenson Ranch’s future housing tracts and Newhall Ranch, a proposed 21,000-home development southwest of Highway 126 and Interstate 5.

More than 12,000 cars travel daily on Pico Canyon Road east of the tree, according to a January county traffic study.

The 70-foot-tall, 458-ton tree, estimated to be 150 to 400 years old, attracted national media attention in late 2002 and early 2003 when environmentalist John Quigley, at the behest of the nonprofit Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment, crawled into its mighty branches and lived there for 71 days in protest of its removal.

Scott said there’s a bigger question than whether Old Glory survived. The question is whether transplanting a tree makes up for moving it at all, Scott said.

“(Transplanting is) an expedient, but not necessarily sound, solution to the problems involved. It probably wasn’t an efficient way to protect nature.”

The developer could have instead spent money to create educational programs or buy land for preservation, instead of saving one tree, Scott said.

Comments

Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

 
 

Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...