Heavy wind and rain brought down a massive branch belonging to one of New Canaan’s largest and most historic trees on Sunday, causing traffic delays and damaging several power lines.
Department of Public Works officials have since removed the large branch from Route 106, though its remains can still be seen in the form of log piles next to Bristow Park’s main entrance. It’s still not yet clear whether or not the rest of the tree will be removed.
Tiger Mann, head of DPW, said that the decision would come down to the state arborist and the town tree warden, both of whom he has already contacted.
“If they deem it a hazard, it can come down immediately,” Mann said. “If not, if they were going to remove it, then it would need to be posted for 10 days by state statute, but again, if it’s deemed a hazard tree, it can be removed for obvious reasons.”
Located by the entrance to Bristow, the 82-foot-tall white oak has been recognized by Connecticut’s Notable Trees Committee. Its trunk has a circumference of 192 inches and its canopy is recorded to have a spread of 109 feet, although that number is likely significantly smaller now. While it is thought to be at least 300 years old, an exact estimate for the tree’s age has not yet been determined. It can be easily identified by the Bristow Bird Sanctuary sign hanging from its trunk.
Chris Schipper, chair of the New Canaan Conservation Commission, said it’s important to “do everything you can to save an old tree like that.”
“But at the same time, you’d have to take into account public safety,” he added.
Other members of the Conservation Commission have shown support for keeping the tree. For example, Commissioner John Fusek said in a text, “I hope we can convince the tree warden to try and save the remainder.”
As of Monday, traffic on Route 106 had returned to normal, and the tree still remains standing, albeit significantly smaller.