Letters to the Editor

SLO County’s oak tree guidelines need a serious update

Oak trees shortly after sunrise on the Spanish Oaks Ranch next to Highway 101.
Oak trees shortly after sunrise on the Spanish Oaks Ranch next to Highway 101. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The Tribune’s June 21 editorial, “Supervisors must prevent the further destruction of oak trees” (June 20), is right on. Voluntary guidelines by San Luis Obispo County urging landowners to maintain these native trees is not working in some cases. The recent clear-cutting removal within the county of mature oaks on 315 acres is a good example.

I understand the San Luis Obispo County’s oak tree guidelines were completed 20 years ago. It gave the responsibility to protect the oaks trees to the landowner while preserving landowners’ individual property rights.

Why protect these ancient virgin oak forests within San Luis Obispo County?

According to a 2002 statement by Davis Stahle, a forest scientist at the University of Arkansas: “ The largest old-growth forest left in the United States consists of ancient blue oaks covering more than 4,000 square miles of the California foothills.”

The blue oak (Quercus douglasii) and the coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) are both native throughout San Luis Obispo county.

Revised San Luis Obispo County oak tree guidelines should be completed. The guidelines should show why and how to implement ancient oak protection, as well as how and why the landowner could profit from this preservation activity.

Wallace McCray, Morro Bay

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