Plans to take down the oak at the proposed entrance to new development near Fenwick Hall have drawn the ire of Johns Island residents and various conservation organizations, and for good reason. At least in that specific case.
In a recent editorial, The Post and Courier referred to the canopy of live oaks as one of the “scenic glories of the Lowcountry, recalling the island’s rural history and slower pace.” Indeed, I have enjoyed this beauty of nature for more than 20 years.
I have also observed how the rural character and “slower pace” have changed on Johns Island, encouraged by development, despite significant opposition, and making for a situation far less enjoyable. The change has been gradual, but the overall increased level of traffic has reached a point of amplifying safety issues, many of which might be caused by that very canopy of beauty.
The only measures taken in the name of safety over the years have been the addition of a few traffic signals and rumble strips along the sides of the main arteries. No one seems to be paying attention to the potential danger that is posed by the aging canopy.
Although the Fenwick Oak might be the cause du jour, the canopy along Bohicket Road (as one example) has become a safety hazard. Consider the number of large vines dangling over, and precariously close to, the roadside.
Also consider the number of dead or dying limbs that are part of the canopy, just waiting to fall onto the roadway and any vehicle that might be in an unlucky position at the time. In addition, the recent storms have softened the root structure, as is evident by the number of trees that have fallen over (fortunately farther back from the road).
While we all might champion keeping a grand oak for the sake of beauty, do we have to divert our attention from other safety issues related to the natural flora?
The Department of Transportation should adopt a plan for trimming and pruning the dangling vines and the dead or near dead overhead limbs. For the sake of safety.
Seabrook Island Road