The people’s trees 

A walk through Greenough Park these days reveals felled trees, the product of the city’s effort to remove exotic Norwegian Maples from the historically cottonwood-dominated riparian area.

The trees have crept up the creek, seeded by their transplanted parents, which line the city streets and burst into bright orange every fall.

After the unwanted trees are removed from the creek, the wood becomes a commodity available to residents of the region.

One man who utilizes the bounty from that harvest is Blue Dog Log Furniture owner Keith Ledford, but not before navigating various city channels and laying down some sweat.

“It’s no easy task to get it out, or to deal with the city. I’m not getting it for free or without a hassle,” Ledford said.

Employee Jesse Nation-Ames originally told the Independent that Blue Dog gets calls from maintenance workers to come pick up the sticks.

“The Parks and Rec guys who do the cleanup tell us the branches are out there,” Nation-Ames said.

That comment sparked a fire under city officials, who insist upon public process before handing out city resources.

“Regardless of what has happened in the past, if there is any value of any kind we need to go through a public process,” Parks and Recreation Director Donna Gaukler said. “All public citizens have equal opportunity to them.”

Ledford said it’s not as simple as Nation-Ames makes it out.

“I bid on it and pay the city parks. It’s not easy. I have to go through a public process,” Ledford said.

Nation-Ames said that a 10-foot-long log 20 inches in diameter can go for as much as $4,000. But the wood that Blue Dog wants usually consists of “elbowy” sticks with a 4-inch diameter that are otherwise chipped or shipped to the landfill.

Ledford said he usually pays $100 to $200 per bid.

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