Walkers, bicyclists and motorists who enjoy a scenic journey on the Avenue of the Pines will notice a different sight this week — smaller trees sprinkled among the line of sky-high, old white pines.
More than two dozen new white pines are being planted this week in spaces along the road where diseased and old trees were removed from Saratoga Spa State Park.
“Now that they’re in there, you get the scale of the old look. [The old trees are] so tall,” said Alane Ball Chinian, regional parks director for the Saratoga-Capital Region of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The new trees are 6 feet high, tiny compared to the more than century-old trees that preceded them.
Juice and food bar company Odwalla donated more than $2,000 worth of trees, which parks staff are planting.
“With budget cuts, we wouldn’t have the resources to spend on that,” Chinian said of the trees. The company has donated trees to New York state parks for three years running through its public-private partnership Plant a Tree program.
“This is really kind of a nice bonus that this group is interested in purchasing trees for parks,” she said.
The company holds a web-based promotion to have fans choose which state park needs the trees.
Saratoga Spa State Park was chosen for those funds this year from among New York state parks.
The new trees will help maintain the look of the avenue, which was originally called the Pine Promenade and was built as a mile-long pedestrian path with four rows of white pines flanking it. The promenade was widened and paved for automobiles in 1929 when the Lincoln Bathhouse was built. Then it was renamed the Avenue of the Pines.
Every year, park workers survey the trees and cut down those that are dying so they don’t fall during a storm.
The resulting gaps are now being filled in.
“We need to periodically plant young trees if we are to sustain the towering column of pines as the iconic entrance to the park,” Chinian said.
In February 2006, a state Department of Transportation worker was killed by a falling tree on the Avenue of the Pines during a windstorm. A pine fell onto the cab of a state DOT pickup truck driven by George H. Green, 52, of Saratoga Springs. High winds broke off part of the tree 15 feet from its base.
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