Last August, employees of the Trump National Golf Club chopped down 450 trees along a mile-and-a-half of Potomac River shoreline. A local environmental protection group called it the "Loudoun Chainsaw Massacre."
After many months of discussions between the club and residents, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will meet on Tuesday to sort the problem out, the Washington Post reported.
The Post reported that the golf club alerted the county back in August that it was going to start taking the trees down, but they did not ask for permission. Nor was the county able to do anything about the clear cutting of a long swath of riverside trees - unlike Fairfax County, Loudoun is not protected by the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, which would have given them some legal tools to stop the chopping.
American elms, green ashes, and black locusts, are all now stumps on the shore.
The Potomac Conservancy says that its more than aesthetic problem to have knocked out the trees - it leaves the shore line vulnerable to flooding and erosion. There is also a worry that an eroding shoreline will muddy and degrade the health of the river.
But Donald Trump was not shy about the reason why the trees were felled on his 800-acre golf club, - it was about the aesthetics.
He told the Post:
“It was done so that people utilizing the services of the club — of which there are 1,000 members, it’s a very successful club — could have unobstructed views of the river, and because it was an environmental enhancement,” Trump said. “The trees that were taken down were in terrible condition.”
The Trump team said they have planted grass and shrubs to hold the shore in place, but the Potomac Conservancy does not think that will be enough. "Their rigid adherence to the untenable position that grass is all that is needed to protect the shoreline from erosion is unfortunate," said Hedrick Belin, president of the organization. Belin advocates trees along with the grass to keep the soil in place.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors will discuss whether to create a buffer zone to prevent more tree-chopping on the remaining shoreline.