Bulldozed trees cause concern in community

Posted at 11:36 PM, Mar 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-06 02:36:02-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A project for improving trails and restoring habitat with native vegetation at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park has some residents concerned. 

“They’re destroying where I grew up," resident Mike White told 10News. "They’re destroying my play ground, you know?”

White grew up near Sunset Cliffs and says watching bulldozers tear down the eucalyptus trees breaks his heart. 

"They tore down my favorite eucalyptus tree out here and they probably took my other one out over there,” White said. 

But another community member says the project is necessary: Doug Ledsam is the project manager, and has also lived in Point Loma with his wife for almost 30 years. 

“It’s not just willy-nilly, you know, it’s carefully done," Ledsam said. "We’re only clearing areas that are designated to be replanted later.”

Ledsam says the eucalyptus trees are not native to the area, and will be replaced by more than 100 Torrey Pines, as well as other native vegetation. He also says his crews are working to keep the native plants in the area around their work site undamaged. 

“[We not only have] a biologist, but we also have a Native American person and a paleontologist looking for any artifacts that may exist," Ledsam said. "So that’s, anytime we move a teaspoon of dirt, those people have to be there to observe.” 

Ledsam says when crews replant native vegetation in the park, they will be collecting seeds native to Point Loma and Ocean Beach, and they will be maintained for at least five years. 

He says he was excited to get the contract with the City of San Diego and knows it will help improve Sunset Cliffs in the years to come. 

“That’s something that’s near to my heart is working on the community here,” Ledsam said.  

The change is still hard to watch for people who grew up there. 

“It’s just devastating,” White said. 

For a look at the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Master Plan, click here