Stodick tree brought down |

Stodick tree brought down

by Susie Vasquez

By late Friday, all that remained of Lester Stodick’s historic cottonwood on Toler Lane was a series of trunks. The old ranch site is no longer protected from the sun despite the efforts of many Douglas County residents to protect the old tree.

The tree cut Friday is registered as a historic tree with the Nevada Division of Forestry, said Barbara Havens, one of those trying to prevent the destruction of these trees.

“Why did they have to start with the biggest tree?” said Douglas County resident Debbie Quatrochi.

She said they did not know the tree would be felled and did not have enough time to organize their effort.

“They should have stopped to give us a little more time to work something out,” she said.

H&S Construction is felling the grove of trees, which includes several other old cottonwoods, to make way for Stodick Estates, a new development just east of Elges Avenue in Gardnerville.

The outbuildings on the site will also be removed.

In a plea at Thursday’s county commissioner’s meeting, Havens urged more cooperation with respect to these issues.

“Developers are motivated by profit. They have little concern the history, culture, or the future well-being of a community. These trees should be allowed to die in their own time,” Havens said. “County of officials should provide the check and balance.

“The commission must act for us. I urge you to change your approval process so you know what is on the land, before you approve a project,” she said. “So we can make a reasoned decision, with full disclosure to the people so the community truly has a voice.”

Nancee Goldwater, a wildlife rehabilitation specialist and employee at Douglas County Animal Control, said owls nesting in the trees are still nurturing their young and disturbing the process is a violation of the Federal Migratory Bird Treat Act.

Kevin Kritz, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the act applies to both public and private lands. The nesting window has passed for these birds, but some will re-nest if their first efforts fail.

“It is regrettable that these birds are losing their habitat, but there are limits to our authority,” he said in a previous interview. “If the incident occurs late in the year and there’s no prior evidence of damage to the birds, there isn’t much law enforcement people can do.”

Estabrook Tree Works is handling the tree removal for H&S Construction.

— Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 213.