Hey, pickleball protesters: Earth Day isn’t for another 194 days. So step away from that tree, ok?
We’re looking at you, Molly McCahon, Sandpoint, Idaho resident.
While we admire your convictions and your willingness to chain yourself to a tree to prevent an incoming pickleball and tennis park from cutting 20 trees down at a local public space, we also can’t help but feel as though this is not the hill to die on.
After all, it’s not as though these are ancient trees or anything.
According to a local report, they’re only about 30 years old, planted when the space was dedicated to a local sports-dedicated resident.
What’s more: for the 20 trees which would be brought down, 60 more would be planted.
The plot thickens
In a (somewhat) refreshing twist, this protest isn’t about pickleball noise. And it isn’t even just about trees.
Descendants of Frank Travers, for whom the current public park is named, say other family members’ ashes are buried throughout the area.
They maintain that Frank, with his commitment to youth sports in the 70s & 80s, would want it to remain an outdoor sports facility like his descendants intended when they dedicated the land in his name years ago.
The Dink is not here to dismiss the family members’ feelings. If they want to chain themselves to a tree, we could understand.
The report does not specify that McCahon is of any relation to the family, though.
The plans for a tennis/pickleball center seem like they’d benefit many more people than the property does as it stands now…but does pickle (and tennis) progress have to come at the expense of the family’s wishes?
There’s no simple answer to that question, so we asked our newsletter subscribers (which you should totally become if you aren't already – see below) for their thoughts.
Unsurprisingly, they were pretty pro-pickle:
Current trees look to be not truly desirable, hardwood trees. As was the planting norm 30 years ago. Planning 60 desirable native hardwoods will pay dividends in just a few years and far more years in the future. – Bill R.
I have nothing to offer in the way of compromise because those opposed to the changes to the park will not change their opinion. This negative PB news will continue because of the sport’s popularity. My recommendation is the public relations departments of the US Pickleball Association, the PPA, MPA and APP get together and begin a big media push to emphasize all of the positives of this great sport, of which there are many. – Judy P.
Sandpoint is in tremendous need of pickleball courts. We have several people that drive to Coeur d'Alene from Sandpoint to play on our courts due to lack of courts in Sandpoint. Also, Sandpoint is surrounded by beautiful forests with millions of trees. A few trees can be sacrificed for a great facility that will get plenty of use and is much needed according to the Sandpoint people I have spoken with. – Paul B.
Build the courts! The winters are long and the summers are short in Northern Idaho where the city of Sandpoint is located. Indoor facilities do not exist in this small logging town and the specific location has been far and away the public’s most favored location. – Steve I.