Passersby along Park Avenue this morning in the 7am hour may have noticed a large tree down in Meadow Park, near the playground or “tot lot” area off the tennis courts. As it turns out, a crew from the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District cut down the poplar tree, guesstimated to be about 70 years old, as a safety precaution, as had been the case with another, smaller poplar removed from the tot lot earlier this week. Per Reese Troublefield, Director of the Recreation and Park District, “We’re not in the tree cutting business, but in the tree growing business. We were not happy with the fact that we had to do that, but it was a proximity issue–not that the tree would have necessarily fallen on the playground, but the heavy snow on big limbs over the playground was an issue.” Troublefield tells KBHR that Maintenance Supervisor Dennis Fuerstenberg and two others from the Recreation and Park District attended a playground construction and safety training seminar in September, and have since felled some trees, including four at The Ranch in Erwin Lake, as a safety measure, and another two to allow more sunlight at the pool area. Asked if they have the authority to cut long-standing trees on park properties owned by the County of San Bernardino, Troublefield responded, “If it’s a safety issue on our property, it’s something we can make a discretionary decision on.” Though the long-standing poplar is no longer a part of Meadow Park, there are plans to plant three red maples between the playground area and the picnic pavilion to provide shade; these maples are the same kind as the six planted at Sugarloaf Park, which Troublefield says are doing really well.