Clear-cuts in Sutro Forest

At the end of March, we went into Mount Sutro Forest. We found a lot of trees had been cut down, and it’s practically a clear-cut on the East side – contiguous with the Aldea Student Housing, where housing density is planned to be increased.

There are a huge number of felled trees, and what was once a dense forest from which you could hardly see any buildings looks like a logging site. It’s evident from the photographs how this is drying out the forest – despite the very wet winter.

Other parts of the forest are not as bad, but it may be a matter of time. A lot of trees have been felled along the new trail from Clarendon Avenue, and there are bare patches with no canopy at all.


The sense of seclusion – the sense of stepping out of the city into a different, magical, world – is gone in much of the forest because of tree-felling and the removal of the understory. You can see cars and houses where before there was just forest.

Tree stumps are everywhere.


There are some areas that have avoided or recovered from the destruction of the trees and understory.

Still given the plans for Sutro Forest, we have no way of knowing for how long. Certainly, in less than a year, it already is very different. Within five years, we expect the footprint of the forest to be significantly smaller, the understory to be destroyed, thousands of trees to be gone. Here’s our assessment of the expected impact of the Plan: What will Sutro Forest Look Like after the Plan?

For those who have loved this forest, we have hundreds of photographs from nine and ten years ago, memorializing the beauty and habitat that was here.  A few of them are in our Photos section, many more are in the articles describing our rambles through the forest. The Contents 2009-2017 page links these articles by year and month.

Perhaps, in a way, it’s a metaphor for our planet.

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1 Response to Clear-cuts in Sutro Forest

  1. Tony Holiday says:

    I recently went for a hike myself to do the Quarry Road/Clarendon Trail. I was first horrified by just a glance at the East Ridge Trail as I climbed p to the Quarry. But the destruction to the Quarry/Clarendon Trail was the worst I have ever seen. I could see the homes down on Clarendon too well – so much destruction it was mind-boggling. How they could wreck such a beautiful trail is beyond me. When I first hiked it, when it was first opened to the public, it was gorgeous and I was mostly impressed. But now – JEEZ. How could they do this with a clear conscience? We can never get these beautiful old trees back. I wish there were politicians, lawmakers, etc. who could make destroying healthy trees illegal and fineable. I am still shocked by all the devastation. This forest is an urban treasure and should be respected, not destroyed. Why do so few people, especially those with influence politically, not care more about our dwindling urban forests when they do so much for the environment and the people that live here and use the parks …

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