‘Miracle Tree’ poses fire hazard in Duarte

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It was touted to be the “miracle tree,” a sure opportunity to get rich quick. It was the turn of the century and with redwood forests quickly disappearing at a time when re-planting was not the norm, future building was threatened. Enter the Eucalyptus tree, imported from Australia, with promises of solving the problem. It was said to produce medicinal and industrial oils, excellent timber and fuel. It would grow quickly in a variety of conditions and when felled, its roots would quickly sprout another tree. A frenzy of orders for this magical tree began and countless acres of Eucalyptus groves were planted with promises of tidy profits. More than 100 companies became involved in the industry and this craze changed the landscape of California.

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Once they realized that eucalyptus were not strong enough for building, leached a poison that threatened native trees and created a fire hazard because they are extremely flammable, eucalyptus farmers abandoned their groves. The city of Duarte has hired the fire department to remove the diseased and dying trees in a canyon on the Duarte mesa.  Work crews cut and remove the trees during certain months of the year.

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Above, evidence of burrowing beatles is found in limbs of a eucalytus log.

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The canyon is lovely — a Shangri-La. It is designated as watershed and wilderness land and is not open to the public. Because it is in a canyon, there is a downdraft, which increases the fire problem.  The work crews are chopping down diseased and dying eucs and clearing brush away. There are remnants of the old euc farm. We have photographed the artifacts for history’s sake. They are quite interesting, and some are puzzling.

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Tamara Hanna, deputy forester, pointed out where bears have clawed a tree. These marks were made by a very large bear! See below:

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One of the artifacts of interest is a ten foot section of a narrow gauge rail.  Was there a railway there?  Was it brought in for scrap metal?  It is a mystery – see below.

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ZOE OSBURN OF THE DUARTE HISTORICAL SOCIETY INVESTIGATES A FOUNDATION THAT REMAINS AS EVIDENCE OF PAST ENDEAVORS

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a red velvet ant goes about his business

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A modern piece of equipment seems out of place.  Presumably it will be used when the work crews continue clearing the area.

  • Zoe

    This is a beautiful spot. Who knew it was right here in the neighborhood!