Report examines race’s impact on Zilker Park trees

Athletes compete at the Cyclo-cross championships at Zilker Park. (Steve Benson/ReportIt)
Athletes compete at the Cyclo-cross championships at Zilker Park. (Steve Benson/ReportIt)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The city plans to meet with organizers of the 2015 USA Cyclocross National Championships after a report about the impact of the race on Zilker Park.

The issue of possible damage highlighted by those concerned about the park’s trees is now complicated with conflicting information. A report from an outside arborist for USA Cycling contradicts some of the city’s analysis.

“Post race, the arborist for [the city] developed a remedial tree care report to address perceived soil compaction of 57 trees. When several samples of the course were tested, no significant soil compaction could be detected,” the report states.

Arborist Guy LeBlanc visited the park after the bikes rode through. He says, in a basic inspection, he saw what is called soil compaction, which can hurt trees.

“I was very surprised that an activity that would cause a lot of disruption to the soil would be allowed so close to large trees,” said LeBlanc.

The harder question is to what extent could it hurt each tree.

The report also pointed out the city’s oversight of the event and highlighted possible issues with city recommendations. The city is now reviewing the report made for USA Cycling and plans to talk with the organizers.

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