Turlock Park Trees Rocked First By Drought, Then Winter Storms

TURLOCK (CBS13) — Mother Nature hasn’t been kind to Pedretti Park in Turlock.

The popular park in Turlock has been hit hard by the recent drought and winter storms. The drought has killed over 100 redwood trees. And then more trees, this time the iconic eucalyptus trees the park is known for, were taken out by this winter’s powerful storms.

Delays to clean up the damage is keeping the park closed. But more delays could start to impact the local economy, which relies on sports teams that come from across the state to play on its fields.

Right now, A-frame signs with “City of Turlock” written on them mark the spots where redwoods used to stand.

“It’s been a challenge this season,” said Allison Van Guilder, Parks and Recreation director for Turlock.

The challenge, in part, has been the state’s drought, which killed off over 100 redwood trees. It’s meant the park has been closed as crews cut down the dead trees.

“The redwoods trees were quite vulnerable, which is what we are seeing throughout our community,” Van Guilder said.

She says the redwoods will be replaced with more drought-resistant trees in the coming weeks thanks to grant money from PG&E.

And it’s not just the redwood trees. Another big loss is the several, massive eucalyptus trees that came down in the recent storms. Not only did they add to the beauty of the park, but they served as a natural barrier to the freeway.

“They also acted as a safety barrier both for traffic on Highway 99 and keeping that barrier between the ballfield and the freeway, but also for balls going out onto the freeway,” explained Van Guilder.

The storm hasn’t just brought down trees and damaged the park, it also starting to impact the local economy. Pedretti Park’s popularity attracts sports teams from across the state. But teams won’t come if the field is off limits.

“The big draw for us obviously is the tourism aspect. We have wonderful restaurants, shops and hotels. And so this facility has become very well known throughout the state as a premier place to bring tournaments,” said Van Guilder.

In fact, four adult softball tournaments have been canceled since January. Another one scheduled for this week has also been canceled.

As for the park, the city hopes to have it open by next weekend and finishing plant new trees by May.

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