In August 2009, the Department of Recreation and Conservation formerly announced that they would be removing 157 old or diseased trees from Memorial Drive as well as a select number of other trees in order to make room for the Boston University Bridge rehabilitation project and to restore landscape between the B.U. Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge. The DCR also said they would be removing nine healthy trees from the goose meadow. At the time, this announcement was met with furious opposition from an environmental group in Boston. The group, Friends of the Charles River White Geese, was convinced that 157 was a whitewashed figure and the DCR would end up removing up to 600 trees, most of them healthy, in order to complete their B.U. Bridge project. Member and local environmentalist Marilyn Wellons called the whole thing ‘just outrageous’. Wellons and the Friends of the Charles River White Geese have been at loggerheads with the DCR for several years now; in fact, the group was formed to protect the Charles River geese from the DCR.
“The DCR removed a thicket of blackberry brambles from the goose meadow saying it was ‘an invasive species’ and now the geese don’t have enough to eat” Wellons said. “I’m sure they’ll end up cutting down lots and lots of trees.” The Charles River Conservancy (CRC) supported the DCR and said on its website, “Chopping down trees has and will always be an emotional issue, but in this case it’s the right choice.”
Earlier this year, the DCR cut down twelve splendid, ancient trees, near the goose meadow saying they were in the ‘wrong location.’ According to Bob La Trémouille from the Friends of the White Geese, they are slowly cutting down more trees under the nonsensical excuse of ‘vegetation management.’ Representatives from the DCR insist that they are removing only old or diseased trees that may fall at any time and are a hazard. However it begs the question, how is it that all the trees that need to be cleared for the B.U. Bridge project, diseased or old?
The DCR and the CRC, (which, incidentally works in partnership with the DCR) promised that every tree that was removed would be replaced with saplings. However, this has not happened yet. In a phone interview, CRC Volunteer Coordinator Logan Walsh said that the most recent tree planting carried out by the CRC was in mid- October when around eight London Plane saplings were planted along Memorial Drive.