by Lucy Hardcastle
Something very sweet has happened in our little downtown park lately. A brand-new baby Valley Oak has joined the grove, planted recently by long term residents Pam Powell and Bob Booth. Bob had originally bought this 8-foot tree at Urban Tree Farms for the front yard of Pam’s artist’s studio off 1st Street, but it turned out it would grow too big for that location. It didn’t take long for them to realize our own community park would be a great place for it to grow up and offered it to us.
Bob has lived in this area off and on since the 70s, and he and Pam full time since 2003. They are avid hikers with miles of trails near their home so are thrilled their donation, planted close to the West County Trail, will enhance the trail for many years to come.
And speaking of trees, many people in Forestville have no idea that the biggest reason we now have a park downtown is because of the young Valley Oaks that shade the upper portion of the park. It was those trees Open Space District was interested in protecting years back when we submitted a grant asking for money to purchase land for community use, (see Park History.)
We thought it was a long shot. We barely mentioned preserving the trees, focusing on how great it would be to have that space as a trail head to the West County Trail. There were other interests in keeping the land for the community such as maintaining a parking lot for the businesses downtown and having a space to host events like the Holiday Tree Lighting, Farmers Markets and the like.
But it was the trees that convinced Open Space this was a worthwhile project to fund. So when you are making out your list of what to be grateful for, be grateful for those trees. That grant to protect them means we all now have easy access to the West County Trail and that trailhead has increased numbers of people coming to visit Forestville and that makes our businesses happy. It all works together.
So stop for a while at our Valley Oaks Park, enjoy the scenery, the peace, the many picnic tables scattered about. It’s a welcoming place and we owe it all to the trees!