Home » Rooted in History:  Altura Park’s Aging Trees

Rooted in History:  Altura Park's Aging Trees

When you step foot into Altura Park, centered in the heart of our vibrant community, you can immediately sense its uniqueness.  The park’s charm lies in the ethereal canopy formed by majestic Aspen and Hannett trees, graciously offering shade to those leisurely strolling along its inviting avenues.  However, it doesn’t take long to notice that the venerable Siberian Elm trees, which have graced this park for over 70 years, are showing signs of decline.  Altura Park is not alone in this predicament; many of Albuquerque’s parks that share the same vintage as Altura are facing the inevitable aging process of their beloved elms.

As urban trees, these elms have witnessed generations of families, their children, and loyal pets passing beneath their leafy crowns, embracing the joys of life.  Yet, they have also endured the harsh realities of lightning strikes, inadequate water supply, and sweltering heat.  Unfortunately, due to poor placement near the streets and improper pruning practices in the past, these trees are now struggling to survive.  Gazing up into the once-lush canopy, it becomes apparent that large dead branches loom precariously, occasionally giving way and crashing to the ground.

Tree Replacement Initiative

Recognizing the importance of preserving Altura Park’s natural beauty, the City and the Altura Park Neighborhood Association (APNA) have been diligently planning for the future replacement of our beloved trees.  The first steps toward this vital undertaking began with the removal of a cluster of five stressed trees near the corner of Avenida Manana and Aspen.  This act serves as a poignant reminder that change is necessary to ensure the park’s longevity.

Highlights of the Approved Plan

In February of 2023, a comprehensive plan, jointly approved by the City and the APNA board, was set into motion.  Let’s delve into the key highlights of this plan that will shape the future of Altura Park:

Replacing Aging Trees

As the aging elms gradually succumb to the ravages of time, they will be replaced with a new hybrid elm species. Positioned approximately 10 feet from the curb, these young saplings will carry the torch of their predecessors, continuing the legacy of Altura Park’s enchanting tree canopy.

Innovative Irrigation Systems

To support the growth of the new elms and maintain the well-being of existing trees and lush greenery, a two-pronged irrigation system will be implemented.  A modern bubbler irrigation system will be installed specifically for the new elms, ensuring they receive the nourishment they need.  Meanwhile, the current spray system will continue to water the existing trees and the surrounding grass, preserving the familiar landscape we hold dear.

Enhancing Walkability

Recognizing the need for accessible pathways, the plan involves removing soil around the roots of the elms and replacing it with a fine bark mulch.  This thoughtful approach will create a spacious 10-15 foot wide walking path encircling the park’s perimeter.  As you explore the park, you’ll be able to meander through this revitalized space, appreciating the beauty of nature up close.

Restoring Greenery

Areas of the park that have endured heavy foot traffic and are left barren will be re-sodded, breathing new life into these worn-out patches.  The revitalized green spaces will once again invite families, friends, and neighbors to gather and relish in the serene ambiance.

Embracing Nature's Allies

As part of the rejuvenation efforts, a new “pollinator garden” will be established at the eastern extremity of the park, where Aspen and Hannett converge.  This garden will serve as a sanctuary for local pollinators, such as butterflies and bees, fostering biodiversity and enhancing the ecological balance within our community.

Embracing Change

Altura Park’s journey toward rejuvenation has begun.  The combined efforts of the City, the APNA, and the collective community will ensure that this cherished oasis remains a haven of tranquility for future generations.  As we bid farewell to the aging elms that have gracefully watched over us, we eagerly anticipate the emergence of a new generation of trees that will continue the legacy of Altura Park’s enchanting tree canopy.  So, let us embrace this change, savoring the intertwining threads of nature and human endeavor that make Altura Park truly unique.