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Capitol Construction Puts Historic Trees At Risk Of Being Cut Down

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento has long been known as the City of Trees, especially around Capitol Park, which houses hundreds of different kinds.

As construction around the Capitol picks up, so do talks of losing dozens of nearby trees.

"The trees are so beautiful and they've been here for so long," said Danielle Borland, who took in the sights of the Capitol and its surrounding park on Tuesday with her family. They were visiting from Merced.

"It's breathtaking, really," she said.

The park is home to cedars from China and redwoods from California, but recently concerns about preserving them have grown.

"When it comes to public, city, or state entities — just bring out the chainsaws," said Will Green, a member of the East Sacramento Preservation group. The organization strongly opposes cutting down any trees at the Capitol.

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"If we can preserve one tree, I think we should have the strength of a hundred more voices because here's a hundred trees that are slated to be chopped down," said Green.

It's all according to the latest draft from the California Department of General Services Environmental Impact Report.  It says several trees could be in jeopardy in exchange for a new underground parking garage and visitor center.

Tree advocates interpret the report to say as many as a hundred trees could be lost, but the Department of General Services says plans only call for twenty to thirty. Still, that could be thirty too many for those fighting for the trees.

"I thought we were trying to be more climate-friendly and less car-centric," said Green.

Karen Jacques, a member of Trees for Sacramento, has her own opinion.

"I think that this needs to be rethought," Jacques said. "I really see it as the people's park and a place that belongs to all of us."

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A park that visitors like the Borlands love to enjoy. "People might take for granted that they know it's here," said Borland.

The Department of General Services also told CBS13 they hope to remove as few trees as possible. They provided this statement:

"While the Capitol Annex Project(s) (Visitor Center, Annex Building, and Parking Garage) designs have not been completed, one of the major goals of the Capitol Annex project is to remove as few trees as possible within Capitol Park construction area.

Based on current information and, as stated in the Capitol Annex EIR, DGS estimates that approximately 20-30 trees will be effected by the project. We are not sure where the 100+ arbitrary number is coming from.  For the trees that have a potential to be effected by the project, DGS and the Joint Rules Committee are implementing a plan for the protection, restoration, or replacement of trees within the construction area of Capitol Park. The project will use the California Department of Parks and Recreation tree protection guidelines to protect trees that are retained within the construction activity area.  Protection, restoration or replacement of trees and plants could include transplanting, replacement of the species, or propagation of saplings to replant."

The DGS hopes to hear from people with their thoughts until March 2nd.  All comments can be sent to

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