ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Little to plow, so Duluth city crews start to prune

Tom Kasper feels sorry for winter weather enthusiasts who have been hampered by warm weather and a dearth of snow this season in the Northland. "But on the upside, we're getting some needed things done," the Duluth city maintenance manager said o...

City tree trimmer
Joanne Highlan, a Duluth park maintenance worker, uses a pole saw to prune a maple tree along Wallace Avenue on Tuesday morning. Warm weather for her crew means more time spent pruning and less time moving snow. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

Tom Kasper feels sorry for winter weather enthusiasts who have been hampered by warm weather and a dearth of snow this season in the Northland.

"But on the upside, we're getting some needed things done," the Duluth city maintenance manager said on the last day of a record-warm January.

City crew members who are usually working on scraping and hauling snow, or grooming ski trails in city parks, have been doing heavy tree trimming duty the past month. It's something on every winter wish list, Kasper said, and this year it's getting done.

"It's been a productive month," he said.

Crews have been clearing trees and brush away from West Skyline Parkway near Spirit Mountain for almost a month. It's work that hasn't been done in 30 years, Kasper said.

ADVERTISEMENT

You'll also see crews out pruning trees in the eastern part of Duluth, a regular winter chore that they've been able to take on a little earlier this year.

Dangerous trees are being located and taken down in neighborhoods, Kasper said.

Kathy Bergen, manager of the parks and recreation department, said the person doing an inventory of trees in neighborhoods has been out longer than normal. She is making lists of species and tree conditions along with noting where trees are needed in the city.

It's another example of Bergen's staff doing more activities they normally can't get to until spring.

"We're getting a little head start," she said. If the weather pattern keeps up, she expects spring to be warm and dry, meaning the efforts now will make parks and facilities ready for use.

"People out there have spring fever," she said. Applications for permits to use city facilities in the spring and summer are way up for the month, Bergen said.

And they are out there now. People are enjoying the Lakewalk and other trails in the city, because they've been clear of snow and ice and the weather's been tempting people out, Bergen said.

"It's pretty much routine," Kasper said of the tree work, but more productive because of warm weather and no snow to deal with. It will help with Mayor Don Ness' long-range plan to get city parks in shape, Kasper said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The few inches of snow Friday and into Monday kept workers in practice for clearing areas of the city, Kasper said. But above-freezing temperatures Tuesday and for the rest of the week mean more of the same in an unusual season.

"Now they're back out with the tree work."

Related Topics: WEATHER
What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.