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hand-book with plates for the easy identification of trees. Many of them are readily distinguished; as, for instance, anyone who can count can distinguish the white pine, with its bunch of five needles; the pitch pine, with its bunch of three, and the red pine, with its bunch of two.
LEGISLATION FAVORING THE PLANTING AND PROTECTION OF ROADSIDE
TREES IN MASSACHUSETTS.
By WM. S. SHURTLEFF, Longmeadow, Mass.
For many years there have been on our statute book provisions for supplying the waste by decay, design and accident, in our ornamental and shade trees. And lately many aesthetic and prudent persons have so forcibly and persistently presented the importance of preseving our roadside forestfriends to the wise men who go annually to the East, where the gilded dome directs the sun to the proper rising point—that statutes have been enacted and laws made, with penalties appended, for staying and punishing this senseless slaughter and for replacing the victims of our past prodigality and fool economy. It only remains with those who approve of this legislation to join with its authors in enforcing these provisions.
It is permissible, and perhaps necessary, to state these laws as they now stand on our statute book.
Chapter 54 of the Public Statutes provides: Section 6.
"The Mayor and Aldermen, Selectmen, Road ComPlanting. missioners, or any municipal officer of a city or town
to whom the care of the streets or roads may be entrusted, may authorize the planting of shade trees therein wherever it will not interfere with the public travel or with private rights; and shade trees standing and trees planted pursuant to such license shall be deemed and taken to be the private property of the persons so planting them, or upon whose premises they stand, or are planted.”
“Whoever wantonly injures, defaces, tears or de
stroys an ornamental or shade tree, shrub, statue founPenalty.
tain, vase, or other plant or fixture of ornament or utility on a street, road, square, court, park, public garden, or other enclosure, shall forfeit not less than five, nor more than one hundred dollars, to be recovered by complaint, one-half to the complainant, and the other half to the use of the person on whose property or within whose premises the trespass was committed."
“In a city in which the City Council, and in a town Section 9.
in which the inhabitants accept this section, or have accepted the corresponding provisions of earlier statutes, the Mayor and Aldermen or Selectmen may set out and maintain shade trees upon the public squares and highways at the expense of such city or town, which may appropriate annually for that purpose a sum not exceeding twenty-five cents for each of its rateable polls in the year next preceding that in which such appropriation is made." Section 10.
“No person shall cut down or remove an ornamental Trees not to be cut or shade tree standing in a highway, town way, or down, etc. street, without first giving notice of his intention to
one of the Selectmen or Road Commissioners, or to the Mayor:-And if the Selectmen or Road Commissioners, or Mayor and Aldermen desire to retain the tree, they shall give notice of such desire to such person within ten days thereafter; and the damage caused by retaining said tree shall be determined in the same manner as in the case of damage by an alteration in such highway, town way, or street.”
"If a person cuts down, removes or injures such tree, Section II.
in violation of the provisions of the preceding section, or of the rights of a city or town acquired thereunder, he shall suffer the penalty provided in section seven, and the same shall accrue to the city or town." Resolve of Chapter 32 of 1886:
"Resolved, That His Excellency, the Governor, is Arbor Day.
requested to set apart in each year the last Saturday in April as Arbor day, and to issue his proclamation recommending that it be observed by the ... ..... people of the Commonwealth in the planting of trees, shrubs and vines, in the promotion of forest growth, and culture in the adornment of public and private grounds, places and ways, and in such other efforts and undertakings as shall be in harmony with the general character of a day so established.”
And this is now in effect and working good. So it appears that the framers of our public laws recognized that the aesthetic as well as the useful and protective and profitable had claim to their attention, for it is to be observed, and it is meaningful, that they included ornamental with shade trees; and therefore
it has been admitted that the preservation of the beautiful is of public interest and benefit, and by affixing a penalty, it is declared, and by subsequent action in the courts, it is determined that the destruction of the beautiful, in this regard at least, is a crime, for penalties only follow offenses. Damages may be recovered by suit for trespasses and private torts, but penalties are only imposed upon public offense.
But the law-makers have gone further. Urged by many persons who deplored the rapid thinning out, by decay or design, or through corelessness, of our wayside trees, the Legislature of 1890, provided as follows: Section 1.
“The Mayor and Aldermen of the cities and the Se
lectmen of the towns within the Commonwealth, are 1890, Chap. 196.
hereby authorized to designate and preserve, as hereChap. 49 of 1891.
inafter provided in this act, trees within the limits of the highways for the purpose of ornament and shade (observe the aesthetic ornament), and to so designate not less than one such tree in every 33 feet where such trees are growing and are of a diameter of one inch or more.”
"Said Mayor and Aldermen and Selectmen shall, beChap. 196. Sec. 2.
tween the first day of September and the 31st day of Marking Trees.
December in each year, designate such trees as are se
lected by them for the purposes set forth in this act, by driving into the same, at a point not less than four nor more than six feet from the ground and on the side toward the center of the highway, a nail or spike with a head with the letter M plainly impressed upon it. Such nails and spikes to be procured and furnished by the Secretary of the Commonwealth (now by amendment, 1891, Chap. 49, 'the Secretary of the Board of Agriculture') to said Mayor and Aldermen and Selectmen as required by them for the purposes of this act.”
"Said Mayor and Aldermen and Selectmen, between Renew Mark.
the first day of September and the 31st day of December of each succeeding year, shall renew such of said nails and spikes as shall have been destroyed or defaced, and shall also designate in the same manner as hereinbefore stated such other trees as in their judgment should be so designated to carry out the requirements of this act.”
“Whoever wantonly injures, defaces or destroys any Chap. 196, Sec. 3.
tree thus designated, or any of such nails or spikes af
fixed to such trees, shall forfeit not less than five dollars, nor more than one hundred dollars, to be recovered by complaint, one-half to the complainant, one-half to the use of the town wherein the offense was committed."
“This act shall not apply to ornamental or shade Chap. 196. Sec. 4.
trees whose preservation is now provided for by Chap. 54 of Public Statutes and acts amendatory thereof."
And to provide for carrying out this act, in 1891 the Legislature passed Resolve, Chap. 72, as follows:
"Resolved, That there be allowed and paid out of the Appropriation.
Commonwealth a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars, for the purpose of furnishing nails or spikes, as provided for in Chap.49 of Acts of 1891, entitled 'An Act Relating to Preserving Ornamental and Shade Trees on the Highways.' Said nails or spikes to be procured and furnished by the Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture." In 1892, by Chapter 147, it was provided :
“The officials charged with the duty of marking Enlarging time for marking.
ornamental and shade trees for their preservation
within the limits of highways, under the provisions of Chapter 196 of the Acts of 1890, may make and renew such marks at such seasons of the year as they deem proper.”
In order to protect the roadside trees, Chapter 403 of Acts of 1893 was passed. It is as follows:
"Whoever affixes to any tree in a highway, public way or square, a play-bill, poster, notice, advertisement, or printed paper of any description, or cuts, paints, or marks on such tree, without first obtaining a written permit from the officer having the charge of such trees in a city or from the Selectmen in a town, shall be punished by fine not exceeding fifty dollars and not less than five dollars for each offence."
Now, there is probably no one present who cannot aid in the carrying out the purposes of these acts to a complete accomplishment of their beneficence. It is probable that each person here can influence the officers in the government of his city or town or village, to diligence in enforcing these laws, and alacrity in availing themselves of their provisions. Every one of us can arouse enthusiasm and energy that shall beget action in some other one or more of our fellow-townsmen, and through them our whole community.
Let us each consider him or herself a committee of one to "see to” this matter. Let us persist and insist by entreaties, by argument, with prayers, if necessary, and swears, if unaccomplishable otherwise, and labor with, and belabor if need be, all our Mayors, our Aldermen, our Selectmen, our Road Commissioners, our neighbors-everybody who can help to take hold of this matter and see to it.
The air is burdened by unsyllabled Amens! But amens, though good as encouragers, are not efficient. Action will be.
But there is a step in further advance to be taken. And some of us can perhaps set an example as well as present an argument in favor of that step.
The statute and laws which have been quoted are well enough as far as they go, but they do not go far enough. Nor can they. For they cannot invade personal rights, unless by the exercise of the right of eminent domain more largely than would seem advisable, perhaps.
They cannot provide that whenever a forest owner along a highway changes his woodland to arable or pasture land he shall leave a proper reasonable belt of trees alongside the roadway, upon his own land, so that the road may not be deprived of shade and the wayside view of beauty; but we can do it with our own, if we are woodland roadside owners, and our neighbors who are such owners may be persuaded to do it.
To effect this, after or with the enforcement of the quoted acts, is the duty of the day. Let us all address ourselves to it, and, with others or alone, circumtramp our woodland ways, and, finding out where work may be needed and action taken, direct the attention of the improvement societies of our towns or villages to the subject and object, and arouse such feeling and create such a public opinion, by meetings or otherwise, as will convince the wayside woodland owner that he can be a public benefactor, and at the same time benefit himself by sparing the shade or ornamental trees along his front, to fringe with beauty the road that would otherwise be a weary way.
It will not be a hard task to effect this. Many land owners now adopt the practice of so fringing roadways; it should be universal; and we can almost assert that in many cases where the contrary has been done, it has been through thoughtless
The beauty, the utility and the future profit of such a plan seem so plain to be seen and expected, that one could hardly fear failure in advocating it. But there is no time to lose. Every day there is danger that damage may be done that half a century will not repair. If every man and woman here present will give a little time and energy to this beneficent object, it will be accomplished. The man who plants a tree in a proper place is a benefactor prospectively. He who leaves one in its natural, proper place, is a benefactor instantly.