Saturday, May 25, 2013

Selfridge Air National Guard Base (KMTC), Mount Clemens, Michigan: Trees pose risk for aircraft

A sign along Hall Road that alerts drivers that they are approaching the Selfridge runway. 
(The Macomb Daily/DAVID DALTON)

Saturday, 05/25/13 03:16 pm

By DON GARDNER,  The Macomb Daily

Hundreds of trees will be removed this fall in Chesterfield Township as part of scheduled maintenance by Selfridge Air National Guard Base to make the north end of its runway safe for aircraft to take off and land.

The work is scheduled to take place this fall to avoid disrupting migratory bird nesting periods. A similar project took place in Harrison Township two years ago around the south end of the runway.

Ironically, the work will come after Chesterfield Township received a Tree City USA designation earlier this year.

According to Capt. Penelope Carroll, the chief public affairs officer at Selfridge, the trees have become flight obstructions in areas identified as flight Clear Zone (CZ) and Accident Potential Zones (APZ).

“The trees are obscuring the safety of aircraft as they go in and out of the north runway,” Carroll said. 

In the most basic terms, a diagonal line can be formed from the runway to the sky and the treetops to determine whether or not trees are a safety hazard. Once that line becomes too steep, the trees become a safety hazard. They impede the safe operation of the flight line by exceeding the glide path limitations. Carroll said the base could just top off the trees, but that would become an eyesore, so removing them altogether was considered the best plan.

Carroll said the land in question encapsulates about 11 acres, with the majority of trees being maple or cottonwood. She said the land is mostly wooded, but a lot of the trees and brush are already dead. While the land is in Chesterfield Township, almost all of the trees are located in Selfridge easements on the east and west borders of the CZ. According to Chesterfield Township Supervisor Michael Lovelock, “three or four trees” on township property will have to be removed. All of them are located behind the township youth center on Sugarbush Road south of 21 Mile Road. The south end of the youth center property backs up to northern portion of the Selfridge CZ. Lovelock said one tree has grown too tall, and the other trees are in the Clear Zone.

According to the 2009 Selfridge Air Installation Compatible Use Zone Report, at each end of the runway is a 3,000 foot by 3,000 foot CZ, some of which is on the base itself, the rest is just north of the base, north of Hall Road. There are two APZs sitting on top of each other further north of the base.

According to Carroll, no private property will be affected, nor will contractors doing the cutting be required to access the cutting zone from private property.

Lovelock said he doesn’t believe the tree removal will cost the township its Tree City USA designation. The township has already planted 35 new trees at Brandenburg Park on Jefferson Avenue and the township historic village, which is adjacent to township government offices.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation website, a community must reach four standards set by the ADF and the National Association of State Foresters to qualify as a Tree City. Those standards include establishing a tree board or department; approving a tree care ordinance; establishing a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita; and having an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Story and Photos:

No comments:

Post a Comment