Please, county, don’t use road mower arm on nar­row ru­ral roads

The Taos News - - FAVOR Y CONTRA - Box­car Farm Llano San Juan

I am hop­ing that Taos County ad­min­is­tra­tion will take up the is­sue of the prob­lems caused by the road mower “arm,” which dam­ages fruit and other trees all along roads of ru­ral Taos County. This arm, which the county ac­quired six to seven years ago or so, is a de­struc­tive tool in tight spa­ces and is not an ap­pro­pri­ate tech­nol­ogy for nar­row ru­ral roads in agri­cul­tural ar­eas where peo­ple rely on the veg­e­ta­tion, fruit trees, for ex­am­ple, for some of their food, shel­ter and screens from dust and noise.

In my case, in the Peñasco area, the mow­ing arm comes through ap­prox­i­mately once a year and whacks off, in a snag­gle­tooth fash­ion, ran­dom limbs of trees, of­ten killing them. Be­cause the arm is in­dis­crim­i­nate and much too large for the del­i­cate job re­quired, it hacks off branches that ul­ti­mately break, leav­ing jagged and spiky edges, limbs that tear off bark, cre­at­ing wounds the trees can­not heal. Such wounds can eas­ily kill trees. Also, it’s ugly and un­nec­es­sary.

A much more sane ap­proach, es­pe­cially for trees that pro­vide food for hu­mans, shel­ter for wildlife, dust screens from the roads, and pri­vacy for cit­i­zens and landown­ers, is to come through with a chain­saw and cut branches that are caus­ing a prob­lem. The mow­ing arm does a poor job of what it pur­ports to do — clear­ing the ease­ment for county roads — be­cause it hacks off one branch, leav­ing an ugly jagged stub while leav­ing other branches dan­gling even far­ther into the nar­row lanes. It sim­ply is not a tech­nol­ogy that works in these kinds of spa­ces.

In ad­di­tion, on these nar­row roads, it is hard for the op­er­a­tors to stay safe. On at least one oc­ca­sion, a road mower has nearly col­lided with my child on a bike on our road. Blind curves and sharp bends on nar­row roads are not good places to en­counter that huge whirring mower.

The roads are too nar­row here for such gi­gan­tic, de­struc­tive ma­chin­ery to be safe. This could cre­ate li­a­bil­ity is­sues for Taos County.

Ob­vi­ously on big high­ways and busy cor­ners, the mow­ing arm is an ef­fec­tive, safe and ap­pro­pri­ate tool, tak­ing down veg­e­ta­tion that causes safety haz­ards and other prob­lems along ma­jor road­ways. How­ever, the tool is not ap­pro­pri­ate for small nar­row roads.

It is a sad, ugly sight on our ru­ral roads af­ter the whack­ing-mower-arm comes through, leav­ing huge branches of plum and chokecherry and ap­ple and ju­niper lay­ing wasted in its wake. (The county also does not come clean up these messes).

Please, let’s do some­thing that makes sense and find other so­lu­tions on nar­row roads. The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is not ef­fi­cient and leaves a lot of peo­ple re­ally un­happy with their dam­aged and dead fruit trees.

If you would like to com­plain about this mow­ing sit­u­a­tion, please con­tact Ra­mon Pacheco at 7376472, or County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Le­an­dro Cor­dova at 7376300. You can also con­tact me, and help me or­ga­nize a gath­er­ing to take to the Taos County Com­mis­sion.

KRIS­TEN DAVENPORT

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