tree huggerIf a tree falls in a forest near Aspen, will anyone throw a hissy fit to have it removed?

Only if it causes the right kind of environmental damage.

If trees fall on the ground to rot and threatens to add fuel to a forest fire, then the tree stays because that’s just nature being nature.

But, if the tree falls across a stream and threatens to block the path of rafters runoff, the tree must be removed.

So says Tim O’Brien, a manager of Pitkin County’s open space and trails program, who says the 80-foot tree that fell across the Roaring Fork River in the North Star Nature Preserve should be moved.

Rather than let nature take its course along the river like they do in the forest, they will spend $6,000 to remove most or all of the tree to protect the river.

Why would they leave behind part of the tree? Because it’s a popular stretch for rafters and the county doesn’t want them there.