First phase of Twin Pines Park Master Plan approved

The+Twin+Pines+Tree+Succession+Plan+in+action.

Keegan Balster

The Twin Pines Tree Succession Plan in action.

The Twin Pines Park Tree Succession plan, which is the newest portion of Belmont’s Twin Pines Park Master Plan, was officially passed by the Belmont City Council on Sept. 2. The plan focuses on improving both the park’s appearance and safety through control of the tree growth. 

To begin, the Park and Recreation Committee needs to survey the state of the trees. The last time the city surveyed the state of the park’s trees was in 2001. At that time, the trees were generally in good condition. 

In the official Twin Pines Park Succession Plan, the Parks and Recreation Committee describes the trees’ conditions at the time of the original survey.

“At the time of that assessment, 47% of the trees were determined to be in excellent to fine condition, 38% in fine/fair to fair condition, and 15% in fair/ marginal to poor condition,” the Parks and Recreation Committee said. “A total of 54 trees were identified for removal in the next 0-5 years.” 

This was the state of the park’s trees almost twenty years ago. As a result of the extended periods of drought that occurred between then and now, the city has concluded that it is necessary to the trees’ health.

In the plan, it is stated that it is reasonable to assume that, given drought episodes experienced in California from 2001 to 2005, 2006 to 2010, and 2012 to 2017, tree disease, and natural aging, that the overall condition of trees within the park has, at best, remained constant, as they justifying the need for a reevaluation of the condition of the trees.

To deal with the possible repercussions of these droughts, the plan has outlined seven objectives. For the most part, these objectives have one of two purposes, to either ensure the safety of the park amenities and the people who enjoy them via the trees’ health, or provide proper shade and comfort.

The plan’s objectives connect these purposes quite well. The trees that cannot be saved through pruning will be cut down and removed, along with many of the park’s non-native trees. The lumber resulting from these cut-down trees will be used to add seating and play areas to the park.  

These steps allow the city to enhance both the safety and enjoyability of the park for various people.  

Simultaneously, the city will remove smaller trees and manage the larger ones to create a pleasant canopy, maintaining sufficient shade over areas people will use. These areas would mainly consist of walkways, seating areas, and play areas.  

The Twin Pines Park Tree Succession Plan is part of the much grander, long-term Twin Pines Park master plan, which will look to renovate the popular Twin Pines Park completely. The master plan was originally proposed in 2018 but has since been changed and approved by the different committees and city council and is now ready for implementation.

Megan Li, a Carlmont student in Belmont who has been to Twin Pines Park numerous times for events, expressed her thoughts on the plan.

“I think that this plan will be really good because when I bike in Belmont, it would be nice to go through the park instead of so close to the busy street,” Li said.

Part of the master plan heavily focuses on Belmont’s bike paths, which have been in development for some time. The master plan will create bike trails in Twin Pines Park that will allow people to bike through the park during their daily commute.

Along with a positive outlook, Li also has her concerns and doubts about the plan.

“The document for the plan is 70 pages, and that is a bit ambitious. Especially if getting the plan approved and implementing the first action took two years, people in middle school now will be in college when the plan is done,” Li said.

“This plan sounds great and all, but it’s sad that I probably won’t be here when it is finally completed.””

— Megan Li

Time is a truly legitimate concern with the project. If this plan takes too long, many may begin to wonder if it will ever actually come to fruition or if it will be abandoned.

Regardless, the tree succession plan will improve safety and quality in the park and is just the beginning of the significant renovations to come.

 

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