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Itty bitty City Redwood grove faces chain saw

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Sequoia redwoods
Not too many redwood trees are left standing in The City, and these three at Page & Steiner may not be much longer. (Andrew Dudley/Haighteration)

Three Sequoia redwoods at Steiner and Page have lived in the Lower Haight longer than just about anybody. But that alone won’t save them from the chain saw.

Page Street Baptist Center, the owners of the parking lot edged by the 60-foot-tall trees, have asked The City for permission to cut down the majestic but troublesome redwoods. DPW staff approved the removal of the trees, but a hearing was held last week after protests from the public.

The tall trees with short roots have forced replacement of the adjacent sidewalk, and imperil a retaining wall along the property’s west side. Neighbors commenting on Haighteration also complained that the shrubby grove serves as a bathroom for local homeless.

If the owners’ plan moves forward, two smaller trees — presumably more suitable to an urban environment — will take the place of the three redwoods.

The Bay Area is home to several grand groves of Sequoia. Muir Woods in the North Bay, Redwood Regional in the East Bay, and Big Basin in the South Bay all offer magnificent viewing of these massive, stunning trees.

San Francisco itself, though, has relatively few redwoods in public view. A few trees stand proudly in the shadow of the Transamerica Building at Washington and Columbus. But your best best may be the Redwood Trail at the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park, with its modest but vibrant collection of Sequoia and more than 100 species of associated plants.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as assistant professor at San Francisco State University.

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