Lincoln Park tree cut raised from 200 to 350, will include firs along Lauridsen Boulevard

PORT ANGELES – The City Council decided on Tuesday to sell up to 350 trees that will be removed from Lincoln Park to preserve airspace at William R. Fairchild International Airport.

The decision approves the removal of an additional 150 trees from the 200 approved by the City Council in November.

The council voted 6-1 to declare the trees as surplus to the city’s needs so that the Port of Port Angeles can log the trees and the city can sell them to a lumber mill.

City Councilwoman Betsy Wharton voted “no” after asking what the impact of the logging would be on the remaining trees.

Airport Manager Jeff Robb said the contract for cutting the additional 150 trees beyond the 200 approved last year by both the port and the city, would be on the Sept. 10 port commission meeting agenda.

The 200 trees – which will be removed based upon height rather than being clearcut – are located in the west part of Lincoln Park near the former campground area.

The additional 150 are located along Lauridsen Boulevard.

The removal is the first phase of a three-phase project to remove airport obstructions.

The project will stretch into 2008 and 2009.

It is mandated by Federal Aviation Administration airspace requirements at adjacent William R. Fairchild International Airport.

The project could begin in mid-September and last about two weeks.

Parts of the park will be closed during tree removal for public safety.

The airport is owned by the Port of Port Angeles but Lincoln Park is owned by the city, so both the port and city are involved in the project.

City Councilman Grant Munro, who owns a logging company, said he had mixed emotions.

He prefers not to cut any trees, he said, but it is necessary for airport safety.

Munro said he would help the city get maximum sale value for the trees.

City Public Works Director Glenn Cutler told the council that port staff identified 200 trees, then city staff identified another 150 trees that were diseased or dangerous and which also would provide additional space for recreation.

Pat Milliren, who lives north of the park, said at least one citizen objected to cutting “our trees” so the airport would have more room for large personal jets.

Parks board chairman Ron Johnson said the parks board agreed with removing the trees to preserve the airport’s airspace.

But it is vital to start planning for how the park will look following future removal of trees, he said.

He also hopes money from the trees will be used for special projects and not regular park maintenance, Johnson said.

Mayor Karen Rogers said designating the money to a specific fund would be addressed later.

County Commissioner Mike Doherty asked if a sustainable harvest plan for Lincoln Park has been considered.

Cutler said that can be considered in the airport’s master plan.

A & N Logging of Joyce bid $46,050 to remove up to 200 trees from Lincoln Park.

Port Executive Director Bob McChesney was granted authority to award the contract once it is finalized.

A second contract of up to $100,000 for stump grinding, topsoil replacement and grass seeding will be considered at a future port commission meeting.

The port will pay for the project with a 95 percent Federal Aviation Administration grant.

The port will pay its 5 percent share from passenger facility charges, which are added to the cost of airline tickets.

Under Federal Aviation Administration regulations, trees and any other obstructions must be removed from an area 10,000 feet beyond the end of the airport’s main runway and 5,000 feet beyond the end of the alternate north-south runway.

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