Editor: I was stunned when I left my North Powhatan Street home just before Thanksgiving and walked toward the bike paths and the stream at the end of our dead-end street.

The banks of Four Mile Run suddenly looked like a sad scene from Dr. Seuss’ environmental parable “The Lorax” – the stumps of a half-dozen large trees now dot the landscape where mature trees had screened the noise and the view of Interstate 66 from our neighborhood.

I’m wondering why this was necessary, and how my neighbors and I missed any notification that this action had been planned.

There are several engineering projects underway in our corner of Arlington. I’ve asked the workers who are reworking the sewage system on our street – they say the felling of the trees is not related to their project. Madison Manor Park is being renovated, and a forest-protection area has been fenced off near the park.

Are other trees that are not within this enclosure at risk of removal? Was the tree removal perhaps necessary to keep Four Mile Run from flooding our neighbors’ houses, as happened last July 8? Or is it part of the plan to widen either of the bike paths running next to Four Mile Run at the end of our street? I thought that plan wasn’t final yet.

I generally trust government, and give the county government the benefit of the doubt. But it is both disappointing and alarming to have several 70-year-old trees – which reduced the sight, sound and smell of heavy traffic – suddenly and irrevocably removed with no explanation.

The community deserves to be part of decisions like this one, and are owed the rationale behind a decision to further reduce the ever-shrinking tree canopy in Arlington.

Karen Lewis, Arlington

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