Climbing Community Bands Together to Help Maintain Historic Belle Isle

Posted by Professional Tree Climber on 5/31/2018 to Climbing News
Climbing Community Bands Together to Help Maintain Historic Belle Isle

Before Bartlett Arborist Supply moved to the country roads of Marlette Michigan, over 100 years ago the company started in a small home in Detroit – Michigan’s Motor City. But there’s more to Detroit than just cars, abandoned buildings, and the current uprise of the city center.
Belle Isle is a beautiful 982 acre island rich in nature, history, and community. You cross over the Detroit River by bridge, leaving the cement jungle and high rise buildings behind to find yourself traveling down a road that will bring you to beaches, boats, historic buildings, parks, even an aquarium, and an astounding Conservatory holding everything from 40 ft tall tropical plants, delicate cactuses, and a fern garden, to rare flowering plants and fruit trees.


It Takes a Village

Every year the community gathers together on Earth Day to do a Spring Clean up on the Island. Thousands of volunteers come to rake leaves, weed flower beds, restore structures, and more.
 To be a part of next year’s clean up, visit this site: https://www.belleisleconservancy.org/spring-cleanup
  

Also found on the Island is an old historic Saw Mill that is currently being restored thanks to The ASM Foundation. You can check out all the amazing things they’re doing here: https://asm-foundation.org/ 



The President, Joe Aiken, is not only extremely passionate about preserving history, he’s also extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about trees. Joe formed a team of arborists to come and volunteer their time for Earth Day, focusing on the difficult and unconventional tree work that needed done for the park, like taking large trees out of the canals so the kayakers could have an open path. The team consisted of a small crew sent out by Bartlett Arborist Supply and Kappen Tree Service, along with Dan Thornton, and Jake Carufel of Canopy Climber Tree Care. AJBC Photography was also there to document the exciting and unusual methods used to safely and efficiently clear the path.


A Great Day of Giving Back

The day kicked off with Joe leading the team down a muddy path to the work area. The guys talked over all of their options and went back to their trucks to start packing up the gear that would be needed. 



With no plan of attack promised to work flawlessly in this unconventional situation, any gear that could conceivably make the job run smoother was loaded in the back of Dan’s pick-up truck. The bucket truck that was brought was left out on the road, too large to fit down the path, and of no use in this situation. This skilled team was hand-picked due to their abundance of knowledge and experience working with ropes and precise gear configurations. It was clear that traditional set ups for a common tree crew would not work in this scenario.
  

A large tree that had broken off on the side of the bank was half submerged in the canal and coming back out on the opposite bank, approximately 30 feet away. Immediately, small brush and dead limbs were removed from the working area by Mark and Chris while Dan began setting lines and setting up gear that would then be passed on to Jake to use. Jake would be the arborist to hang mid air and cut the log in two, while the rest of the arborist team back on the bank would pull the piece up and out of the canal by using multiple blocks to create a mechanical advantage. 






The exciting and interesting details of this exact setup will be talked about in further detail in a blog that will be released in July!
    

Preservation Is Important

Skipping the technical talk and getting back to the day, it was a great site to see so many people coming together for a common cause. As more cities invade our forests, and more trees are cut down to make way for development, it’s important that we preserve the beauty and natural land that’s still left for us where we can. Spending time outdoors has been shown to have positive impacts on people both physically and emotionally. So taking the time to clean up an area, especially the city in which Bartlett was founded, is really important to us. Belle Isle is land that allows people of any age to get outside, away from the bustle of the busy city, and just spend a day on the calm canal waters, lay on the beach, stroll through the woods, learn about new plants and animals, and hopefully soon, thanks to the ASM Foundation, have a historic area where a life in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry is celebrated.  


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