The trees cut down recently along a stretch of trail near Blind Line Road in Elmira are part of ongoing maintenance work by the G2G Rail Trail group.
The work is part of the continuing effort to make the 132-kilometre trail between Guelph and Goderich more accessible, executive coordinator Willow Hall said this week.
Since last summer, the charitable organization has been removing trees that are considered dead or dangerous.
“The focus of this project was on pieces of land that we leased, the majority of which are in Perth and Huron counties, but the work was done [in Elmira]. We worked with local stakeholders and steward groups with their permission to have those dangerous and disease trees removed as well,” explained Hall.
“In the places that we leased the land from the province of Ontario, we have a mandate to maintain an accessible trail for our users,” he said.
Locally, the Elmira Lions Club looks after the trail from Wallenstein to Northfield Drive. While they did not oversee the recent removal, they provided support to make it happen.
“We had a lot of dead or dying trees, ash trees, and we’ve had a few fall on the trail and obviously worried about someone getting hurt, so it seemed like a logical thing to do. I was surprised at the number of trees they saw fit to remove, but I’m not a learned arborist,” said chair club member Art Woods.
While Woods has received calls expressing concern about the number of trees that were removed, that was not his decision.
“I have to have faith in the professionals who did it. They took them down because they were dead or in the process of dying. Well, we all know the problem with that,” Woods said.
“All my life I planted trees and encourage others to do so as well. It’s a shame to see them coming down, but it is what it is.”
Removing the trees is necessary because it impedes trail usage, Woods added.
“The Elmira Lions Club tries to be very cautious of removing trees. We do a lot of trimming,” he explained. “But our goal certainly is to maintain as many trees as we can, because people love walking on the trail when it’s warm in the shade. Of course, we planted a lot of trees along the trail and we’re going to plant more in the open spaces.
“It’s sad to see them come down, but I’ve been through here in the bush behind me and it’s amazing how the maples fill in. I’ve been really surprised at how they expand and broaden out when the ash trees are gone.”