Our View: Long live lighthouse's cypresses

March 22, 2007 11:00 pm

Is there a more iconic image of Crescent City than Battery Point Lighthouse, framed on one side of its rocky perch by wind-hewn cypresses? Framed pictures and posters of that scene can be found in businesses and homes across town. It can be seen on letterheads and business cards of local organizations and entrepreneurs. Type "Crescent City" in Google images, and a full third of the first 15 pictures that pop up are of the lighthouse with the Monterey cypress trees standing nearby.

Given this, we're glad to hear that the Del Norte County Historical Society has no plans to cut the trees – and we're doubly pleased that when they do fall the city requires that the same species replace them.

Change is inevitable, and the nearly century-old cypresses soon will die and have to be removed. But so far, the trees do not harbor insects, fungi or disease that threaten other trees. They do not pose a safety risk to anyone. But the beautiful view they offer could last a couple of more years, maybe even another decade if we're lucky.

When the cypresses do die, let us replace them immediately with new ones that will last another century. The cypresses, after all, do more than represent "Crescent City." They are a symbol of continuity, a link with our past and given the tree's long life span, a link to the future residents, businesses and institutions that will be proud to call this city home. The cypresses now at the lighthouse have seen five generations of Crescent City residents, and so their replacements should see another five.

Indeed, the cypresses go hand-in-hand with the lighthouse, which was built only a few short years after the first American settlers established the city in the 1850s. It'd be shame for the lighthouse to lose its old companions of so long.

Mining and logging may have disappeared, the fishing industry waned, the Old Redwood Highway rerouted. But the lighthouse and those cypress trees beside it ought to last forever.