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Despite concerns, trees next to BSU football field to come down

Dylan Sievers and Caitlyn Schuchhardt held a sit-in to protest the proposed removal of a white pine tree at Chet Anderson Stadium on Tuesday morning as construction crews removed the track and the grass from the football field. MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJI PIONEER

BEMIDJI -- Despite concerns from some the community would lose a tree older than the college campus it sits on, a Bemidji State University representative said the tree must come down in order to complete improvements to its football field.

Three trees sit on the west end of the Chet Anderson Stadium, where crews now are replacing the natural grass with a synthetic turf. One of the trees is more than 100-years-old, said Caitlyn Schuchhardt as she sat under the large white pine Tuesday.

An online petition to save the trees had almost 100 signatures by Tuesday evening.

Erika Bailey-Johnson, the BSU's sustainability coordinator, said a state Department of Natural Resources specialist who visited the site Tuesday afternoon determined it would take a lot to save the trees, considering the nearby construction.

"It's too bad," she said.

University spokesman Scott Faust said Tuesday evening those trees are expected to be taken down soon.

"The area that would have to be protected during the construction to preserve the tree ... would essentially make the project impossible," Faust said.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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