Parks Board recommends removing all public ash trees - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Parks Board recommends removing all public ash trees

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The Emerald Ash Borer will inevitably kill more than 4,800 public trees in La Crosse.

The La Crosse Board of Park Commissioners approved a plan to remove those ash trees this winter.

That plan will go to the city council next week.

If it's approved, "this will be very intense and very shocking," said Parks Superintendent Gar Amunson.

Amunson created this plan to economically chop down La Crosse's public ash trees before the Emerald Ash Borer gets to them.

"Now, this may sound extreme, and it probably is, but we are ahead of the game in turning these materials into a product rather than (letting them become) infested – and they will become infested and they will die – removing dead materials and having to get rid of a huge, tremendous quantity of deceased trees," Amunson said.

If the council approves this plan, the 700 ash trees with an orange marking at Pettibone Park are just a fraction of the trees that will no longer exist.

Trees at Forest Hills Golf Course, Myrick Park, Riverside Park and even Copeland Park, will eventually have their ash trees removed, too.

So, how much will this project cost?

Amunson said his team estimates a price tag less than $100,000.

It will cost even less if the profit made when loggers purchase the trees is averaged in.

Plus, some of the funding could come from accounts the Board of Park Commissioners has jurisdiction over.

Saving green, and also going green.

These trees could help generate power for Xcel Energy. 

"Instead of using more traditional fuels, I guess, like coal and oil, we burn local garbage that we process into what we call refuse dry fuel and we also burn wood waste," said Tina Ball, senior environmental analyst for Xcel Energy.

An ash tree is permanently targeted. But Amunson said if his team hits the bulls eye first, it would be much better for the city.

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