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