This week’s Tele-Talk question: “What should the town do about the giant maple at Smith-Eastman Landing?" received 80 responses. It was nearly unanimous that the tree be left alone. The responses below were edited for space considerations in the print edition. For the full responses, go to conwaydailysun.com.
The selectman should contact UNH cooperative services as Mr. Colbath suggested. This tree is too valuable. Please spare the tree, Mr. Thibodeau.
Is there anywhere else to park besides under the tree? Why not keep it for as long as you can and make it a no park zone.
Contact the Arbor Society! This tree maybe an antiquity, and there are rules about preserving them. I allowed my neighbor to cut down a black ash (on my property) because he wanted to put in a new driveway. After it was down, I found I could have prevented him from doing it. The tree was over 400 years old! Don’t be fooled ... the only reason the contractor wants to take it down is because the wood is valuable! If you do decide to have it cut down, your town should retain all profits from the lumber!
Save the tree! Hire an arborist to remove the dead limbs. This ancient tree, that can bring pleasure to so many, should not be felled to make coffee tables for a few. If you have read the book Overstory, you would certainly root for the tree. Leslie, Jackson
Please let the maple live. My husband, dog and I go to Smith-Eastman Landing on a regular basis to walk the trail along the Saco River. Every time we drive into the parking lot we admire the tree and wonder what stories it has to tell. If only the tree could talk. This tree has lived a long life and should be left for all to admire and appreciate. Let nature take its course unless it become unsafe. Bill and Daune Frey, Center Conway
I, too, of course hate to see this magnificent maple come down after centuries of growth. However, as with all living things, it’s obvious this tree is at the end of its life and will only continue to rot and fall apart if not felled in a controlled manner. Understandably, it’s been tempting for the town to capitalize on this old growth gem and send it out to bid. However, it's disappointing they cannot see the value in letting “the local contractor” harvest this tree. That local contractor has selflessly given so much to this town and its residents that I say we let him safely fell the tree and create pieces of furniture that will stay here in the valley for all to admire and remember what it means to have a sense of community. James Love.
My family and friends have used the Eastman "put-in" for kayaking for quite some time. Everyone comments on the Maple tree and has some sort of attachment to it, being such a unique tree and quite old (in my estimation about 250 years old). I hope that we can take a reasonable approach and have a professional arborist inspect it and give recommendations before we start designing furniture. Kevin Haded
I just took pictures of that tree a couple of weeks ago because I thought it was a very interesting and unique tree. Please leave it be! Dennis Levasseur
Tear it down! I heard it is related to a tree from 1861 named Dixie. It could possibly be the last thing torn down to end racism once and for all. And, by the way, can we eradicate and eliminate everything maple, since that was a popular name for women in the South during the 1800's? I could call my BLM boys and they could be here so fast, and do a quick burn of all that stuff, so everyone could have instant satisfaction and no more maple suffering. John Robertson
Even though I do not live in Conway, I am in Madison, I think the tree should be evaluated by an arborist. There is absolutely no need to chop down an healthy, old tree and landmark, at best! Cut off the dead branches, and if the tree is healthy, LEAVE IT ALONE! If it does need to come down, it should not be sold for profit! Find someone local who can turn it into something beautiful and useful for the town. Tammie Savini
Sounds like the guy who wants to cut it has plans to make money for himself. If he knows trees so well he knows it can be pruned and dead limbs removed. Leave the tree alone. Merle Cole Jr.
So, we are taking out decades old/landmark trees because they’d make good tables now?
Also, why are we tele-talking about a tree when there has been a severe increase in the instances of private fireworks being set off around town IN A DROUGHT? Elizabeth Hewitt
I have an idea. Let’s cut all of the trees down in the MWV. We can use all of that valuable timber for tables and benches. We can use what’s left for toilet paper and toothpicks. Once the trees are razed, we can pave it all over and that way people can access the river or stores with ease. Maybe even get something to nosh on? Jesse Mixer
You need to see it in person to really understand the debate. It’s a stunning tree. Why not trim what is dead and treat it if it has a disease, if possible? To allow somebody to use it to make conference tables is not the answer. If it does have to come down, whatever wood is salvageable should be used for something that the town can enjoy: benches, a gazebo, maybe even picnic tables in that area? Megan DeRosa Croce
I think that if the only reason we are questioning this is because someone wants to cut it down on their own agenda to make money that there should be no question. The tree is beautiful and enjoyed by all who use that space. Leave it alone and let it continue to be enjoyed. Marci Drew-Labrie
With all of the things going on in the world, this old maple tree should not be taken down. The town has funds to have an arborist prune the dead limbs, if needed. Ken Jones
The selectmen are listening to a contractor who wants to make money on a tree owned by the town, and don’t appear to wish to be altruistic about the conference room table profits. Trim the tree and give it some care, and that contractor can get his own wood. Abram Keitovich
Why would you cut down a tree that isn’t fully dead yet? Have an arborist come and evaluate it, and let them decide. Not someone who just wants to make a buck off of it. Becky Hooper Gargan
If the tree is not a hazard, and not in the way of any project, have an arborist come in and do what they can to prolong the life of the tree. Paul Gallant
I forwarded to Big Trees of New Hampshire. They may have some input/insight on this topic. Julie Pelletier
Selectmen can discuss it all they want. Is it ultimately their decision? If every contractor in town approached the selectmen to try to make a deal, and they considered it, we would not have any trees left on town property. This is a no brainer. Before it goes bad? Like that is going to happen anytime soon. Trim and clean it up and let it be. The shade and aesthetic value that the tree provides is way more important than any conference table where more dumb ideas can be discussed. Wayne Stanton
Keep the tree! Please! Trim and care for it, but please don’t remove it so some jerk can make money off it. Jillian Sanborn
Leave it alone. Why does this town get involved with the stupidest problems? For real, let’s vote in some different selectmen that won't ruin this town. What a joke. Thomas Bouchie
Keep, if at all possible, pending the tests (rot, decay, boring test, etc.). The dead branches possibly have liability issues, but one could get struck by lightning at the same spot. Could this old tree make some decor at the new town hall? What Conway tax payer wouldn't think that's cool to pay the town clerk over a counter that was an old growth Conway tree? If it ultimately needs to go, keeper, for sure. Paul Costello
If it has to come down, turn it into park benches or have someone carve a bear out of it. Nora Smith Price
How about y'all stop cutting down every damn tree in town? We like our trees. We are not a mini Massachusetts! Stop trying to turn us into one! Seth Bailey
This is a monumental decision for the town. Can I fax in recommendations? Daniel Espinal
Why not consult Upper Saco Valley Land Trust? Don't they have a conservation easement there? Kate Briand
It looks very much alive, apart from the dead limbs. Leave it up! Have an arborist prune it. Megan Jenkins
Evaluate and save, if possible, please! Libby Priebe
Let the tree stand! Heather Costa
Dead limbs do not equal a dead tree. Leave it alone! Laurie Colbath-Libby
Keep the tree! Tasha Duffy
Value it’s beauty! Dale Boyle
Leave it alone. Al Hospers
This is about a single tree. Wow. Carrie Richards-Westphalen
Leave it alone. Kendra Disilva
Remove the dead limbs and allow it to live! Maureen Murphy-Malo
Let it be. Katie Nylin
Leave it alone. Leona Adams
Let it be. John Barley
The town should consult with an arborist to see if the tree can be saved. If it can't be saved, plant another one in its place. My name is Jane Hall and I live in Conway.
The giant maple at Smith-Eastman Landing currently in question is still very much alive, and if given at least half a chance, will probably outlive the current group of selectmen deciding its fate.
I’m hoping that we're going to keep the tree. I can't believe they want to cut it down. It's, I guess, the control of nature or something. Three votes for keeping the tree in Albany.
I'm calling about the wonderful old maple tree. I think you should call an arborist and have a look. I've recently had some arbor work done on some 250 year old, very big maple trees, and they have quite a life span. So, I didn't really realize that anybody could just say, “Hey, town, I'd like to have that tree” and get it. It sounds like a very valuable resource. It sounds like we should be protecting it, preserving it. Chances are it needs a little bit of arborist work and we can continue to enjoy it. This is Maureen from North Conway.
I think what the town of Conway should do is take this contractor that wants to cut down this one tree because he can make a bunch of money off of it, and right over all the roads in the town of Conway and have him cut down all the dead trees. They only want this one because you can make a bunch of money, and maybe tell the selectmen just to cut the dead limbs out and leave the tree. You people are amazing. You need to get in the real world. The selectmen, please.
I looked at the tree. It looks great. I think we should keep it as long as we can. And if we can't, then let's use it for something for the town. Joe
Please save that beautiful, ancient maple tree that's on the Smith-Eastman town property. It is such an incredible, beautiful tree and so noticeable. This is Laurel in Jackson.
In response to this question about the large maple. Certainly a private citizen shouldn't be making a personal profit out of it. Leave it be, it's a legacy tree. It can be cleaned up. An arborist is the way to go. But let's not be too hasty about this, please.
I believe that we should really save one of the most beautiful trees in the Mount Washington Valley. I think we need to really look at having an arborist look at it because if the tree is not too damaged, it could be saved. It is absolutely beautiful and doesn't need to be turned into tabletops for somebody who wants to just take it down for that purpose. It's right at the landing there, and at the beginning of the recreation road, and I think we should really treasure that tree. If an arborist can do something to fix it and let it survive, please do.
I am calling about saving the tree. I think it's a magnificent maple, and as long as it's in decent health and not a hazard to the parking lot, let her live and let her take her natural course in life. It's one enormous, amazing maple, and if you can't keep it, what does get made out of the furniture from it should be used for town uses, like maybe at the town hall.
Leave the tree alone. It will die when it wants to. Unlike Kennett High School that building will be dead before the tree dies, that's for sure. This is The Powder Slasher.
I think the tree should be left alone. Get an arborist to come and look at it and maybe take down the dead branches and do what we can to save it. It's a shame that everything in this town has to go to money, money, money. Sometimes, heritage is important. And, if and when the tree does come down of its own accord, I hope they use the wood to do something for Conway to make some kind of a monument or something.
You've got to leave that giant maple tree alone. Nobody can touch it. It's the most beautiful tree in the town. We can't get rid of it.
I'm calling about the big maple. Please save it. It's a beautiful tree. There's no need to cut it down.
Who really cares about the tree being cut down, etc., etc.? This town used to be Mayberry. Now it's Matt Berry. We grow condos and townhouses and whatever. So, what's one tree going to make a difference? This town's long gone for what it should be.
The town should not sell the tree. The tree is a magnificent, old, old, old growth and it could use some help with some pruning on its branches, but we should definitely not sell the tree. Conway caller.
This is Jim in Glen. This tree is part of Conway's history. It should only be cut down as a last resort. Have a tree expert come in and trim it all back so that it can be healthy. And remember, tree lives matter, too.
I hate to see such drastic measures be taken right off the bat. Why can't we just prune the dead branches and maybe put up some kind of barrier so people don't park directly under it? And then let's see what happens.
Could somebody please explain to me why a tree that is not dying, that is estimated to be almost 300 years that is not in any way harmful, should be given to a contractor, who asked for it? Pam Katz
The giant maple at the Smith-Eastman Landing should be harvested via bid process. "Sound" log(s) from the trunk could be rough-sawn, and planks transported to Kennett High School's wood shop to be finish-milled into lumber products, and then sold to the public. Obviously, the successful harvesting bidder will benefit from potential cordwood sales, to offset a portion of bid payment by the town, plus free signage on-site promoting the harvester's business. (Signage rules to be relaxed for this very public project.) Clean up off-site could be done by the town, with chips being sold or utilized on town properties. HGL's compensation could be from its sale of lumber products with "overage" going into the town's general fund. If KHS were to finish-mill rough-sawn planks into lumber products for sale, proceeds could go to the school district. Everyone wins! Sincerely, Evan M. Lucy, sixth generation steward of land on West Side Road
I can’t tell you how many times my friends and I have stopped and appreciated that maple tree over the years. It is an insult to this community to try and justify its demise. One can say it’s old with a few dead limbs, or the wood would look good as a table top. The problem is that North Conway is not in the furniture business or a supplier of timber products. The town, as a responsible steward of green space, needs to protect that tree. There are other sources of wood that can be used for furniture making. Bob Katz from Chatham
Leave the maple be. It is a beautiful and gloriously old addition to the Smith-Eastman park, and I think it would be really short-sighted to simply cut it down because it would make some nice coffee tables. Molly from Conway
Let it be. Steve
Table the proposal to turn it into tables. Some professional care would probably add to the tree's dendrochronology. Mike
I have parked under this tree for 40 years while walking and running the trail along the Saco. I drove over today and looked at it again. I am not a tree expert, but have one very similar in my yard. This Saco River tree does have some dead limbs that should be trimmed, but it still has some very good years left for the enjoyment of all. It poses no public safety threat, if trimmed. As usual, it always starts like this - someone with personal financial use wants to do something - they get a local politician friend to bring it up to the town and declare it a dangerous issue, and they, of course, already have the remedy. Trim it. Leave it.
Act cautiously. Yes, the tree is very old and showing signs of age and decay, but don't be too hasty to cut it down before we know more about its age and condition. A trained arborist can do a core boring to give an idea of the true condition of the tree. If falling limbs endanger parked cars, cordon off the area under the tree and post warning signs near the tree. This tree is indeed a "sight to behold” - one of a kind, It's a magnificent specimen. Maybe some pruning and cabling could encourage its growth for a few more years. Needless to say, it should not be "harvested" for table tops. Don't rush it's demise, especially for someone's gain. There are many ways to appreciate this tree before it goes. We'll miss it when it's gone!
Peter Minnich from Conway
This is Sonny Graves from Madison. As a young boy, I lived in Redstone and used to go swimming there. We would take a bar of soap with us when we went underneath the bridge to have our bath, either that or the washtub. So, that’s where we went in the summer to take our baths in the Saco River. I think it's a terrible thought to cut that big old tree down. I remember it being there when I was a kid, and I’m 77 years old now, so I’d certainly like to see it stay.
My name is Dede Shapiro. I live in lamplighter Park. And I think that gorgeous maple should be left there. God put it down there. Why should we take it out? I do think that it belongs here in the woods more than we do, and more than all of the tourists.
Hi this is Linda in North Conway. Please, please do not take down that beautiful, old maple down at the Smith-Eastman Landing. We are eliminating so many of our beautiful, old trees. Please leave it alone. The one in North Conway across from Eastern Slope with branches hanging over the road is much more dangerous. That should have branches cut off of it so it's not hanging over the road. Anyway, please leave the tree alone. If anything, eliminate a couple parking spaces near the branches.
Hasn't enough of this valley been disfigured. Now someone wants to take down a gorgeous tree to use for their own profit. I'm not interested in chairs and tables. Is nothing sacred? Carl Thibodeau has the best idea: Call someone in to evaluate it that knows what they're doing. Sooner or later you guys will get it down. I'm positive that because you don't care about anything.
Let it live. Care for it. Remove the dead branches. Let an arborist evaluate its health, and foresters give their opinions. Having survived this long, it deserves to be admired, appreciated, and given the most cautious consideration. It’s value cannot be measured by profit. Please, neither "sell it to the highest bidder,” nor "let the man take it.” Anne Garland from Jackson
This is a beautiful tree. Do not cut it down. Simply trim the dead branches.
The tree should stay right where it is for as long as it possibly can.
Concerning the giant maple at the landing, leave it alone. It's a giant, old maple and it’s a beautiful tree. You can always fence around it. You can make the parking lot bigger. Just leave it alone. Trees will never grow large again from now on because the way the Earth is going. It is getting more polluted everyday, every year. The Earth is slowly dying, so just leave it alone. Let people enjoy it. It will be a few more years for itself will be gone on its own. So just live with it a few more years and let people enjoy it. Center Conway
I've been looking at the large maple tree for many years. It's a beautiful tree, I hope the town will not let anybody touch it. Some say it might be a danger, why there's nothing under it for it to hurt anybody. So I hope the tree stays.
If it’s healthy, leave it alone. It’s not only beautiful but provides a natural filter system for ground water! Sophie from Conway
Yes, save the maple tree! Pat Higgins from Glen
This majestic tree is old and beautiful. We would hate to see it cut down. It does look like it needs some TLC, though. We think an arborist should examine its health and then make decisions based on the results. The Bartons, Center Conway