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Finding purpose for fallen trees in SLC

Posted at 9:32 PM, Sep 11, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Thousands of severely damaged or uprooted trees will be cut down and chucked into a landfill after Tuesday’s storm brought hurricane force winds to the Wasatch Front. However, some will serve a greater cause.

Salt Lake City leaders estimate at least 1,000 private trees and 1,000 additional city-owned trees were damaged.

Yet, because park trees are technically city property, Mayor Erin Mendenhall tells FOX 13 they can’t just be thrown away.

“Our urban forestry is getting creative and they are going to find ways to get some of these beautiful pieces of wood into the hands of woodworkers locally,” said Mendenhall.

After the Salt Lake City tornado in 1999, trees damaged around the State Capitol building were carved into the Governor’s ceremonial desk. A plaque inside a drawer emphasizes how good things can come from adversity.

That sentiment is echoed in tree limb donations to help indigenous people in San Juan County.

“It kind of gives you a sense of how powerful community can be,” said Tron Johnson who donated damaged tree limbs to the Urban Indian Center.

The wood from downed trees on private property will be taken to southern Utah to warm elderly Native Americans who rely on firewood.

“Families have no electricity, some no running water and they heat their homes through the winter by firewood,” said organizer Donna Eldridge.

Firewood can be dropped off at Urban Indian Center, 120 W. 300 S., and Esther's Garden, 2425 E. Heritage Way (2760 S.) in Salt Lake City.

Drop off can happen on Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

At Liberty Park, eight-year-old Harrison knows what should happen to the historic trees he grew up beneath.

“I think they should be made into a playground for kids,” said Harrison.