Ravine Gardens State Park officials remove 8 trees ahead of upcoming hurricane season

Park patrons hoping to have access to the paved trail at Ravine Gardens State Park on Monday were out of luck, but park officials said the trail was closed for safety reasons. 

There were eight trees that posed dangers to park guests who use the 1.8-mile paved trail, which is why they were removed Monday. 

Justin Flinchum, the assistant park manager at the Ravines, said many of the trees were oak trees that were dead, rotted or in danger of falling on and near the paved trail. 

“We moved some trees from the park because of safety hazards,” Flinchum said. “They were dead to begin with. One of them was over an overlook. One was … right beside the playground.”

Flinchum said the park enlisted the services of Whole 9 Yards Outdoor tree service to remove the eight trees from throughout the park. 

The company began removing trees at about 9 a.m. Monday. On Monday afternoon, Flinchum said the company was on track to finish the tree removal project before the end of the day. 

“From what we’ve been told by the tree company, we’re going to be done today,” he said Monday. 

Flinchum said park officials routinely update the list of tree that should be removed, whether because of public safety concerns or for other reasons. 

The eight trees removed Monday topped the park’s priority list, and other trees on the list will be removed at a later date, he said.

Funding for the project came out of the park’s budget, Flinchum said, and money was set aside this fiscal year specifically for this project. 

“We clear out the ones that we put on our priority list,” he said. “We work those in order. Sometimes, (funding) comes out of the park budget. Sometimes, it’s a safety award (grant).”

This is not the first time the park has removed numerous trees at once. A few years ago, the Ravines underwent a massive renovation, which included the removal of nine partially or completely dead oak trees. 

For that project, similar to this most recent removal, the trees were cut down because they were rotted and the chance pieces of those trees would fall was increasing by the day. 

With hurricane season beginning June 1, Flinchum said, removing hazardous trees was paramount. 

“The majority of them are oaks,” he said. “With the rain, wind and coming into hurricane season, we wanted to make sure we get those down.”