CATONSVILLE, Md. — Baltimore County had no idea a newly-planted grove of trees existed on the old Spring Grove Hospital property in Catonsville or what’s left of it after a recent mowing sparking a face off with the Catonsville Community Conservation Association.
“So how can you plant trees on county property?” a worker asked at the site.
“How can you mow them down without notifying people?” replied a CCCA member.
“How can you plant them and not tell us where the hell they’re at?” countered the worker.
Of the thousand trees donated by the Virginia Department of Forestry, only a couple of dozen remain, yet it’s difficult to miss the signs surrounding the nursery refuge.
“You see the signs,” said Jim Himel, a resident forester with CCCA. “For anybody who can read, when you see a sign that says ‘Tree Preservation Area’, if you’re on a mower that should stop you from going in there or at least you temporarily stop, get on your phone, call your supervisor and see what’s what. That didn’t happen here.”
But neither did the formality of asking for permission before planting the trees.
Conservationists claim the county has historically pushed back on their efforts to plant trees elsewhere so they no longer seek its approval.
“The county is supposedly wanting to plant trees, but they say they don’t have the money to do it themselves so they get a group to do it, and this is what happens,” said CCCA President Cheryl Wasmund.
Well, not exactly.
Baltimore County claims in the last four years, it has played a role in planting 26,000 trees or almost 200 acres worth, and it’s not even sure the so-called butchered trees were planted on county or state property, much less who cut them down.
“Can you read? “Tree… preservation… area,” Himel told the worker at the site.
“Why don’t you just plant them in the middle of the ball field?” responded the worker. “Unbelievable.”