Tree removal project underway in Hilton Head - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tree removal project underway in Hilton Head

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

The Hilton Head Town Council received numerous calls after residents and visitors noticed a large-scale tree removal process.

It's actually not large at all. I think it looks scarier than it actually is because we are used to seeing all the trees on the island. In fact, forestry is one of the top industries in South Carolina. That’s why the town of Hilton Head has strict rules regarding tree removal.

For example, there's a clause that specifies how many trees you have to replant if you remove one.

But what we have here is simply two property owners, whose family has owned the land for years.

There are 18 parcels of land altogether, so far about 12 of them have been cleared along Union Cemetery Road and Gumtree Road by the school complex.

Now when you see this process, the land is usually being cleared so the wood can be used. The trees are then immediately replanted and the process happens again in about 20 years.  

The property owners applied for a permit back in 2013 because the town had regulations in place forbidding the removal, but a state statute superseded the town's decision.

"Requires that they have a forestry management plan, which is designed by a licensed state forester, and both of these instances these land owners had those forestry management plans prepared. They were submitted to the South Carolina Forestry Commission where they reviewed them and approved them, so those were some components they needed to qualify for the state exemptions and the town's exemptions,” said Hilton Head Environmental Planner Rocky Browder.

The town says it hopes to start the seating process in the early winter, however, if we see a lot of severe storms this summer that will saturate the ground, the seeding process may not begin until winter of 2017. 

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