Tree project in Portland's Evergreen Cemetery cut short

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PORTLAND — Unseasonably warm weather has put tree thinning in Evergreen Cemetery on hold.

City Arborist Jeff Tarling said Monday the job that began last week has been halted as the ground has thawed.

“If we have frozen ground conditions in the next week or so we could resume work, (it is) all dependent on conditions,” Tarling said.

The work is part of a wider city woodland management plan funded through a Project Canopy grant from the Maine Forest Service, city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said.

The work at Evergreen Cemetery was supposed to last two or three weeks and take advantage of frozen ground.

“The snow cover is ideal to minimize impact to the forest floor,” Grondin said in a Feb. 22 press release.

Established in 1855, Evergreen Cemetery includes 239 acres off Stevens Avenue with walking trails behind the burial grounds.

Similar tree removal, or thinning, has already been done at the Rand Road Technology Park, in the Riverside Golf Course woodlands, Pine Grove Park and Riverton Trolley Park, Tarling said.

Grondin said the work may not look pretty while it occurs.

“Conducting this type of work in an urban setting requires patience, as the project looks messy and disruptive when in progress,” she said.

The work also led to trail closures in the cemetery last week; Tarling said some are or will be reopened.

“We have one or two trails that will require restoration work to clear the trail and re-establish the treadway once it dries out,” he said. There will also be more trail improvements in early spring, once the frost is gone.

The trees felled by contractors could be sent to mills or chipped to use as pulp or biomass fuel, Tarling said. He estimated 60 percent of the wood cut in Riverton Trolley Park and Riverside Golf Course was chipped, but market fluctuations for wood products occur and can affect how wood is processed.

Chipping did occur on site last week in Evergreen, where trailers were filled and hauled from the cemetery. The Brentwood Road entrance has been used for access by logging equipment.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Warm weather has forced Portland to stop a tree-thinning program at Evergreen Cemetery this week.

Last week’s tree thinning at Evergreen Cemetery also included chipping cut wood that may be used for pulp or biomass fuels, Portland Arborist Jeff Tarling said Feb. 27.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.