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Ray Scott, of Forest Hill, a longtime trail monitor for the northern part of the Ma & Pa Trail, noticed about two weeks ago that something was missing: a large, old oak tree that had always stood near the restrooms on the trail.

What was one in a pair of stately old trees was suddenly nothing but a stump.

Scott said he knew some of the branches had been damaged or broken, but saw no reason to cut down the entire tree.

When he called the county’s Department of Recreation and Parks, he was told the county’s risk management agency had told the department the tree was in danger of falling on the bathroom facility or on people using the trail.

“I can’t buy that,” Scott said. “There’s a lot of difference between a tree that’s got (to have) a couple of limbs out than it is to destroy a tree. Over the years, they have cut a lot of trees down on that trail, which were less majestic than that tree.”

Bob Thomas, spokesman for Harford County government, said risk management had nothing to do with the decision.

He said parks and recreation contracted Harford Tree Experts cut down the tree on Sept. 21.

“Folks from parks and recreation were made aware of a tree that was dying and was believed to be hazardous,” he said. “It was the recommendation by Harford Tree Experts that the tree be taken down because it was a hazard. They felt that if the tree fell, it could fall on a building we have there or on people using the trail.”

A spokesperson for parks and recreation who could confirm that information could not be reached for this article.

Thomas said it was unfortunate to lose a large tree.

“We want to ensure the beauty of that trail is maintained, but when we have a tree that becomes hazardous, we have to do the responsible thing and have it removed so it doesn’t cause property damage or injuries,” Thomas said.


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