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Vandalized Trees Replaced Through Community Partnership

Earlier this summer, criminals vandalized trees along a river trail at Alexander River Park. Since the mature trees had bark removed near their bases, they had to be removed to protect the safety of park visitors. A local nursery in Candler selling native woody plants contacted Recreation Services with an offer to donate trees to replace those that were lost.

Green River Botanicals’ One for One program plants a donated tree to a nonprofit for every bottle of their product that is purchased. The donated trees are helping maintain Buncombe County’s tree canopy through partnerships with groups such as Asheville GreenWorks, Riverlink, and community supported agricultural groups (CSAs). They were also instrumental in establishing the Sand Hill Native Tree Nursery and Edible Orchard at Buncombe County Sports Park.

“This partnership illustrates the mountain spirit and civic pride Buncombians have for public outdoor spaces,” said Josh O’Conner, Director of Buncombe County Recreation Services. “The donation means taxpayers weren’t left on the hook for illegal activity. The new trees at Alexander River Park — a swamp white oak and two witch hazels — will aid with flood control, water quality, and bank erosion. Green River Botanicals’ involvement in environmental restoration and education initiatives aligns with our mission to preserve the area’s natural beauty and enhance sustainable environmental resources.”

County officials are discussing ways to repurpose the vandalized trees as public art, benches, or other creative uses.

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