Letter to the Editor: City efforts to restore Klingle Valley Trail fell short

The new Klingle Valley Trail is already slated for repairs to its drainage system. (Brian Kapur/The Current/September 2017)

Thank you for writing your recent article on the Klingle Valley Trail [“New Klingle Trail faces repair work,” Oct. 4]. I am grateful for the trail, but I have several concerns.

When walking Klingle, I was a bit surprised by how the trail crosses the path of least resistance for rainfall in a few areas. I was also interested in how the plans took into account difficult and steep slopes. So, I visited when it was raining, and I observed various issues with how the water flowed in different places. Just a few weeks later, a heavy rainfall washed out the path’s borders in a few spots. While I understand that all projects have room for improvement, I hope that the D.C. taxpayer does not end up paying twice for the upkeep of an expensive project that didn’t last more than a few months before there was noticeable deterioration. Hopefully, the contract allows for clawback for needed repairs and replacement.

As far as other issues, I do believe there is too much lighting on the path. My personal preference would be to take out the lighting. Reducing it to half the current lampposts would be a compromise.

Lastly, I was extremely disappointed in how the trees and shrubbery were placed and planted. Some of the trees were still tied at the top with twine that was there for safe transport, while most of the others were planted with staking. When trees in a natural setting are staked, it is nearly impossible for them to compete with wild plants. And these materials deteriorate the natural experience. Trees and plants adjust to the sunlight and wind. If the trees are staked to the ground, this is strongly deterred. Just compare the sway of a wild tree of similar size with one that has been staked. You might be amazed how much more the wild tree sways.

Arborists working with the District have informed me that staking is part of the usual city contract. I would encourage that future contracts not call for use of staking or most tree guards. The cost of the materials is excessive, and the materials are not generally being discarded and/or reused in a proper fashion. In most cases, the staking has not been removed soon enough, with staking left in place for more than a year causing girding or event pulling down on the tree. Current staking practices create more work.

Scott Dorn, Tenleytown