Group protests tree removal at People's Park in Berkeley

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Friday, December 28, 2018
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A small group of protesters are trying to stop a work crew from cutting down dozens of trees in Berkeley's People's Park.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- A small group of protesters is trying to stop a work crew from cutting down dozens of trees in Berkeley's People's Park on Friday.

According to Berkeleyside, tree chippers and work trucks are set cut down more than 40 trees and prune a number of others.

ABC7 News spoke to one protester named Ray.

"I think the university is out pocket," said Ray. They came here between 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. and started running their saws and taking down a lot of trees."

UC Berkeley officials tell Berkeleyside crews are working on long-deferred maintenance needs at People's Park, saying its one of 15 similar projects taking place across the campus during the winter break.

Protesters say the university should have done a better job of informing the public about its plans to cut down trees.

"They want the people around the park and people that use the park to be ignorant of their plans for the park, which seem to be to strip the park of any type of nature other than the barren earth," said Ray.

UC Berkeley released the following information about the tree removal:

There are three reasons. First, many of the trees to be removed or pruned are currently interfering with lighting due to the large size of the existing trees and the broad canopy. There are also sections where trees are planted too close to each other, impeding light under them. Second, there are more than a dozen trees that are leaning towards and approaching power lines. They must be trimmed to address a potentially hazardous situation. Third, there are 3 dead trees that must be removed, and another 7 with large hazardous bark branches that must be cut as they are in danger of splitting off and falling.