Don’t let county remove Lahaina monkeypod tree

A healthy monkeypod tree on Front Street in Lahaina could be removed. The tree was on the agenda for the Maui County Cultural Resource Commission last year and is still awaiting its fate. Testimony from members of the community last fall supported saving the tree, including Maui’s own well-known tree expert, Ernest Rezents; the Maui Outdoor Circle; and the Maui County Arborist Committee, which is made up of tree-knowledgeable members.

This tree has provided shade for sunny and hot Lahaina for more than 30 years. It has grown in the middle of a sidewalk, but a temporary fix to reroute pedestrian and wheelchair traffic has been done that could be made permanent if the county chooses so. The tree is located across from the public tennis courts.

The state saved large monkeypod trees along Honoapiilani Highway when it did highway improvements. Why can’t the County of Maui do the same and save this tree in its location? The tree provides so many benefits to the environment.

Our urban forest includes our street, parking lot, park and residential and commercial property trees. Tree maintenance budget for public or private property should include pruning, root damage repair, possible utility repairs and ground cleanup.

The Maui Outdoor Circle is contacted frequently from the community on unnecessary tree removal, improper pruning or neglected trees. Maui Outdoor Circle is asking the community to join us to stop the chop on Maui and save our urban forest.

Elaine Malina

president, Maui Outdoor Circle