The Parks Department will soon begin a long overdue project to restore native trees to the north side of Tubbs Hill.
A veritable “wall” of non-native trees such as Norway maples and cherries, trees that are growing at the base of Tubbs Hill near McEuen Park, will be removed. The freshly cut stumps will be treated to prevent re-sprouting.
Because of the dense shade from the non-native tree canopies, trees and shrubs native to Idaho are unable to grow. The places where the non-native trees are gaining a foothold are the moistest sites on Tubbs Hill such as the north and east sides of the hill. These sites should be the home of ponderosa pine, western white pine (Idaho’s state tree), western larch, and a variety of native shrubs. All of these native tree species need sunlight to become established. They cannot compete with the shade-dense Norway maple and cherry trees.
Once the non-native trees are removed, the area will be replanted with native trees such as ponderosa pine, larch, and grand fir, but this portion of the hill will look very different until the seedlings have had time to grow.
Tubbs Hill, a unique lakeside mountain park in the midst of the city, serves as a welcome escape from the sounds and stresses of modern life. It’s an enormous play area and a scenic backdrop for hiking, jogging, and sightseeing. Fans of this natural haven find solace and personal renewal among the tall trees, ever-changing Idaho skies, and varying palette of wildflowers.
The health of native vegetation on Tubbs Hill plays an important role in maintaining the special gifts so many people return time and again to enjoy. In 2010, non-natives species were removed in conjunction with a fuel reduction project on the east portion of the hill. The following spring, volunteers helped to plant over 2,000 native trees, now able to grow without the competition of the shade-dense, non-native species.
There are still many non-native tree species which remain, mostly on the far north side of the hill at the base of McEuen Park, which over time will continue to spread onto the hill.
Tubbs Hill trails will be open during the duration of this project. If you have any questions, please contact Katie Kosanke at 415-0415.