After more than 1700 online signatures, and about the same number of signatures on paper, the most frequent hesitation to our Save the Dike Road Trees petition has been of the “I don’t live in Coeur d’Alene” variety.
Our response is: go ahead and sign. We want all the signatures we can get, of course, but our response is not without some rationale.
First, the petition is directed at the Assistant Secretary for the Army for Civil Works. This is the person who we think has the most direct authority to make changes to the Corps of Engineers vegetation policy and how it is implemented. This person has national authority and national accountability and so we think anyone in the nation should be able to join our petition for redress.
Second, the Corps’ vegetation policy is actually a national policy. The policy is applied in Coeur d’Alene the same way it is applied across the country – regardless of the flood threat, regardless of soil characteristics, and regardless of the trees. In fact, the one conclusion drawn from the otherwise inconclusive science is that threats to levee safety from vegetation can best be made with site-specific assessments. Communities across the country who are not getting these site-specific assessments are welcome, therefore, to join in our petition.
Finally, our community is made up of people from around the country and around the world. And our economy depends on people from around the country and around the world who come to visit. Or, who might want to come to visit in the future. We think that these visitors, future visitors, residents and future residents might have a stake in whether the trees stay.
So go ahead. Sign the petition. And feel free to get your out of town friends to sign too.