Elkins Tree Board seeking locations for trees, new members

Trees provide many wonderful things – they shade us from the sun in the summer and provide us with a variety of fruits and nuts. In our area, tourists and residents await autumn to view the varied bounty of fall colors blanketing the mountains.

Unfortunately, recent snowstorms and high winds have destroyed so many trees that stood tall in our region for years. In response to this loss, the West Virginia Urban Forestry Division has given the Elkins Tree Board some red oak trees to replace some of those broken and destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

“We are looking for good homes for 12 of these red oak trees,” said Elkins Tree Board member Dr. Heather Biola. “They must go on public property or in the city tree lawn rights of way beside city streets.”

Biola said a demonstration city grant will cover the cost of planting these new 8-10 foot red oaks. These trees are found in West Virginia more than any other state and rapidly grow to heights of 60 to 100 feet. They tend to do well in a city environment, and prefer moist, even soil.

Two of the trees will replace damaged trees located at the Seneca Mall parking lot. Five trees will be planted in Elkins City Park where many trees were damaged by the storms.

Elkins residents interested in giving some yard space for one of these trees should contact the Elkins mayor’s office at 304-636-1414.

“Studies have shown that people shop more in places where there are more trees,” Biola said. “Around here, it seems the parking spaces shaded by trees are the most desirable. Trees also help on energy costs by providing shade for cooling.”

Elkins Tree Board President Dr. Maryann Maxwell Durland said the agency is searching for two new members.

“Elkins is a ‘Tree City,’ certified through the Arbor Day Foundation,” Durland said. “New tree board members will assist with the planning and replacement of trees throughout the city.”

The slots are available from members who moved on. Mayor Elect Van Broughton will appoint another city council member to take his place on the Elkins Tree Board.

“The job is not labor intensive,” Durland said. “A good candidate is someone willing to meet monthly who is interested in trees and someone who wants to help maintain and preserve local trees.”

Durland said anyone interested in filling one of the two vacancies should call the mayor’s office at 304-636-1414.