- Associated Press - Monday, February 13, 2017

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - City leaders in northern Idaho are calling for a stand of giant sequoia trees to be saved from a planned development.

Plans for a new Lewiston Fire Department station were released last week and since then several people, including the mayor of Lewiston, have stepped up to say six sequoias on the station site should be saved, reported the Lewiston Tribune (https://bit.ly/2kCH8Gg).

Mayor Jim Kleeburg said at a City Council meeting on Monday that the six giant sequoias, which stand 60 to 70 feet tall, should be incorporated into plans for the fire station.

Lewiston Urban Forester Riley Stark agreed that it is rare for trees to get so big.

“It’s uncommon for trees to get that big, much less giant sequoias, given how rare they are,” Stark said. “I hope that when it gets developed, they give them adequate consideration. They should have a tree protection zone during construction.”



Officials with Baker Investment Group of Spokane, which will build the station, said they will try to preserve the trees.

Fire Chief Travis Myklebust has proposed a lease-to-own plan in which the Baker Group will build the station and lease it to the city until the city purchases the property.

Horticulturist Harriet Husemann said the neat row of sequoias and other trees are a remnant of Walter S. Thornber’s nursery, which operated at the site during the first half of the 20th century.

“Everybody that knew anything about the history of Lewiston, especially plant-wise, knew that Walter Thornber had one of the very first nurseries in the area,” Husemann said.

Husemann said Thornber was responsible for introducing many trees to the once-treeless Lewiston area. If all six of the sequoias remain after the fire station is built they will be a monument to Thornber’s contribution to the area.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, https://www.lmtribune.com

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