A recent action by county staff to mark more than 100 trees on Wonder Stump Road with orange paint has prompted concern from some local residents that they may be slated to be cut down.

But, according to Del Norte County Community Development Director Heidi Kunstal, while the trees have caused some long-standing drainage issues in the area there are no plans to remove them.

“Someone had brought to our attention that they want to remove trees within county property, but that wasn’t something we saw happening,” Kunstal said Monday.

She said the county roads superintendent flagged trees that would be good candidates for removal, but the project hasn’t been prioritized or funded.

“It’s an opportunity for us to look at what type of options we have,” Kunstal said. “But one thing I’d like to make very clear is we all know the importance of that canopy to people in our area.”

Any proposed project to remove the trees would have to go through a public review process and be approved by the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors, Kunstal said. The county would also likely hire a professional to recommend which trees to remove, she said.

Mac Eller, who lives on Wonder Stump Road, said his father, Clyde Eller, was on the Board of Supervisors when the county purchased the “tree tunnel” in the 1990s. Mac Eller said the Board of Supervisors negotiated the purchase so those trees wouldn’t be cut down and the “vast majority of people would not want it to happen.”

District 4 Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen said most of the trees in the Wonder Stump Road area are second-growth redwood. He said the area was once a railroad right-of-way.

According to Kunstal, the ditches along Wonder Stump Road are deep. In one area, a tree has completely encroached into a ditch, she said, and with the city’s water lines traveling down the road, “it doesn’t leave a whole lot of room to navigate.”

Kunstal said her department would also look at “different options” and would be receptive to feedback from the public on how to address the drainage issues on Wonder Stump Road. However, “there are no plans to do it now.”

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com .

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