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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Supervisors protect historic tree in Knightsen

When George Knight settled in far East County more than 100 years ago, he planted a eucalyptus tree to mark his land.

On Tuesday, Contra Costa supervisors made it possible for the tree to stand tall for years to come in the town named for Knight.

The tree, located on Delta Road near Bartels Drive, was designated a Heritage Tree by supervisors, protecting it from being cut down and preserving a piece of Knightsen's history.

Some say the tree, with a trunk 22 feet round and an estimated height of 50 feet, can be seen from Byron.

The decision was made despite the tree straddling county and privately owned land.

The owner, Huguette Bartels, wrote a letter opposing the designation, but in the end, the community's voice was louder.

"This is something that the community supports," Supervisor Mary Piepho said, "and because of that, this is something the board supports."

Bartels is still responsible for maintaining the tree but does not have any additional obligations, said conservation and development director Catherine Kutsuris. A permit is needed for Bartels to do anything significant to the tree.

In her letter, Bartels wrote that she opposed the designation because it was a "dangerous and very messy tree" that was "not native of California." She also said the cost of upkeep was too much for her to handle.

Read on
The Painting is by Ivan Shishkin

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