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The whole story about the cemetery trees

• Mar 7, 2019 at 1:00 PM

There has been a lot of talk about the trees which have been removed from the Spring Lake Cemetery. It is time to make sure the whole story is understood.

The Spring Lake Cemetery is a beautiful resting place. Our family’s gravesite is in the Spring Lake Cemetery. It is a beautiful cemetery because that has been a priority for township elected officials for a long, long time.

The removal of some trees in the cemetery is the result of many things. A number of the trees were old and had a significant number of dead branches. Many trees were damaged during the windstorm in the late ‘90s.

The main section of the cemetery is filling up with gravesites and we have families who want to have our cemetery be the final resting place for their families and themselves. The far western section of the cemetery is where we have room to expand and also where many families are selecting to put their loved ones. When there are a lot of trees, digging graves often causes tree roots to be cut. According to the arborist we consulted, when tree roots are cut, trees start to die. This would have continued to happen as more sites are needed in this section of the cemetery.

Considering that advice, the Township Board decided to remove a number of trees in the west section to provide for more sites and to avoid killing trees in the future. This spring, we will be planting new trees in that section, which will be positioned in such a way that they will not interfere with future gravesites. The new trees will be of a natural variety, so they will do well in our climate. These new trees will replace the trees which were removed.

Winter is the best time to do tree work for the following reasons: few people are in the cemetery in the winter; the tree companies are not busy and, therefore, the price for their work is reduced; and there are no leaves with which to contend. Unfortunately, when trees are removed in the winter, the area ends up looking bare.

As for the trees which were removed in the main part of the cemetery and in the east section of the cemetery, that was almost entirely a matter of recommendations from the arborist. I personally feel it was a major improvement.

Since 2011, we have been planting new trees in all three sections of the cemetery — maples, fur trees and ornamental trees at a total cost of over $12,000 — purchased from a local landscape business. In 2016, we resurfaced all the roads in the entire cemetery at a cost of $77,000. In 2017, we installed a new irrigation system in the entire cemetery and along the first section of the North Bank Trail at a cost of $54,000. Strange those who have been so critical of the tree removal never seemed to mention any of those improvements.

The current Spring Lake Township Board is sincerely interested in maintaining our beautiful cemetery. I am confident that when spring comes with the leaves, the new trees planted (dependent only on some more irrigation work we will have to do early this summer) and the remains of all the cut-down trees removed, local residents will understand and appreciate that our cemetery is a priority and it is still one of, if not, the most beautiful cemetery in the area.

About the writer: John Nash is the elected Spring Lake Township supervisor.

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