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Along Country Club road . . . The Kenmare Country Club, Des Lacs
Refuge and the township have all agreed on the need to remove
the caragana trees along the Kenmare Country Club road. The row
of ash trees immediately behind the row of caraganas will remain in
place. A public meeting for comments was held last week with
no protests to the plan heard.
Row of green ash trees will remain
By Caroline Downs
The Kenmare Country Club will work with the Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge, Kenmare Township and Northern Plains Railroad to remove a row of trees and improve conditions along the Country Club Road.
Formally known as 436th Avenue NW, the gravel road is bordered on the south side by a row of caraganas in front of a row of ash trees, with a few Russian olives growing, too. The caraganas were actually planted on township right-of-way adjacent to the refuge, but the row has caused problems for the road, especially by holding large snowdrifts.
“This road is our only access to get out [to the golf course],” said Jamie Livingston. “With the caragana gone, we wouldn’t have to move so much snow and we could get out here earlier in the year.”
“The tree removal will help the lifetime and upkeep of the road,” added Rick Harris.
The Country Club requested permission from the refuge to do the work, with Northern Plains Railroad covering expenses for the project. The railroad has been making repairs to its own track immediately west of the golf course and adjacent to the refuge this summer, negotiating access to the site with the club and with refuge management.
Des Lacs NWR manager Chad Zorn explained a permit granted to the Country Club and Farden Construction would allow the caraganas, any Russian olives, and all deadfall in the tree rows to be removed. Excess topsoil will also be removed and the ditches will be recut.
“The ground on the south side of the road actually sits higher than the road,” said Shane Harris. “When it rains, water sits on the road. With the caraganas out, that will help drain the road.”
“The road won’t be rebuilt,” added Rick Harris, “but we’ll put more gravel on the road.”
The project will include a new fence and two gates when finished, with Zorn ordering a four-strand wire fence to be built on that half mile of refuge boundary.
Farden Construction will do all the tree removal and dirt work, with the trees hauled to the Kenmare landfill. The cost of the project is estimated at $5,000, plus the cost of installing the fence and gates. The refuge and the Country Club will coordinate efforts later to reseed the ditch.
When the permit is approved, work can begin this fall after harvest is completed in the fields next to the Country Club belonging to Don Gravesen. Shane Harris and Kirk Harris expected the project to be finished before winter.
No protest at meeting
The Country Club hosted a public meeting August 15th to take comments about the proposed tree removal, but no one showed up to speak against the plan. “I didn’t receive a single phone call,” Zorn said, “and I talked in person to one individual. He understood the need for this to be done.”
Zorn expressed his concern about the public’s opinion regarding tree removal. “The tree rows aren’t good for the grassland species of birds that nest up there,” he said, but emphasized only the caraganas and few Russian olive trees in the row would come out at this time.
“The green ash rows are staying,” he said, adding the aggressive growth of caraganas makes them undesirable trees for some locations.
Zorn will order an archaeological review for the site, as required by refuge mandates. “Once we get that clearance, work can start,” he said.
Zorn appreciated the cooperation of all parties involved in the project. “This shows how the railroad has made an attempt to work with the community,” he said. “That’s part of being good neighbors with the refuge and the Country Club.”
Anyone with further questions about the tree removal project along the Country Club road can contact Zorn at 701-385-4046, ext. 225.