Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Atop the shoulders of giants:...
. . . .

Atop the shoulders of giants: Meryl Marsh

Erin Crowell - April 18th, 2011
Atop the shoulders of Giants: Meryl Marsh takes tree climbing to a whole new level
By Erin Crowell
High in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, 7,000 feet above sea level, Meryl
Marsh dangles from a tree limb the size of an oak trunk, reaching for a
new growth branch– a facial hair in comparison to the 400-foot-tall
sequoia it and Marsh are attached to.
Marsh, 29, is a collector for the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (AATA), a
Traverse City-based non-profit that propagates, reforests and archives
some of the world’s oldest growth trees, some over 3,000-years-old.
These include the towering and iconic Coast Redwood, Mountain Ash, Bur Oak
and Cedar of Lebanon, among others – just a few of the 100 tree species in
the world that Archangel believes are the most important for archiving in
living libraries, for reforestation and to help restore planetary health
through carbon sequestration and oxygenation.
While others would cringe at being so high, Marsh says she enjoys it.
“You don’t want to come down,” she says. “It’s the most peaceful view,
and you get this overwhelming sense of calm and peace.”

In order to fulfill their mission, the organization must enlist the work
of a professional tree climber to obtain specimens that can be—at times—at
the top of these 400-foot-tall trees; but instead of contracting out
climbers for each job, which can be pricey, the organization decided to
train two of its own: Marsh, a field operations coordinator based in their
Traverse City office—and Jake Milarch, propagation supervisor and fourth
generation nurseryman. Jake’s brother, Jared, founded Milarch Brothers
Nursery and Landscaping, while his father, David, founded AATA.
Marsh and Milarch spent several days training with ArborMaster, a
Connecticut-based business that provides safety, skills and productivity
training for people and organizations that work with, in and around trees.
These industry sectors include utility line clearance companies,
government, military, commercial/residential, universities, landscape and
Depending on the industry sector, training through ArborMaster includes
everything from tree climbing and rigging to large tree pruning and aerial
lift operations.
“We’re more specialized in that we use the most non-invasive way to get in
and get out,” says Marsh.
Archangel does not use climbing boots with spikes and the only cutting
involves taking small samples of new growth “about a foot in length,”
Marsh clarifies.
Those growths are generally located where the tree gets the most sunlight
– sometimes at the very top, adds Marsh.

But before Marsh can even set foot on a tree, there are several steps in
the propagation process.
The first—and most obvious—is locating a tree, then the group must get
permission from landowners, determine the best time of year to access it
and how to get there.
Depending on the tree and its height, collection can take anywhere from a
couple of hours to an entire day.
The longest process is setting the line, which involves anything from
throwing a weighted bag over the crotch (where the trunk splits) to using
the “big shot” – a sling shot off an eight-foot pole that shoots the line
over a large limb, up to 300 feet in the air.
Tree climbing and rock climbing are very similar in that both are
considered sports and require vertical travel, using very similar
equipment – this includes a harness, helmet, climbing rope, carabiners and
other hardware, although the design may be slightly different.
What separates them most definitely is by way of ascension. Rock climbers
use the rock to climb, while tree climbers must access limbs hundreds of
feet in the air via rope.
Marsh uses an ascender attached directly to the rope to hold and move
upward as she takes out slack, a type of pull and step that has her “inch
worming up”—as she puts it—without putting one foot or hand on the tree
“You have to use an ascender, otherwise you’re completely cashed because
you’re moving your own body weight,” she says.
While the equipment helps, the job is still taxing.
“It requires a lot of strength and endurance.”
Although fairly new to the sport, Marsh credits her climbing ability to
her athletic background. The Western Michigan University graduate ran
track, where she double majored in writing and music, a far cry from her
“studies” today.

“I do use writing in this position pretty often,” Marsh concedes about her
current job as a field operations coordinator, which involves seeing a
project from beginning to end.
“I also do a lot of marketing; but I didn’t have a background in
horticulture. I’m constantly on a steep learning curve, learning the ins
and outs of propagation and cloning and environment function. I’m never
finished learning that stuff.”
Born in California and raised in Hartland, Michigan—with a post-college
stint in Chicago—Marsh spent a few years out of college in Belgium. It was
living there and a meeting with AATA former executive director Leslie Lee
that Marsh became responsible for global operations.
Two years later, Marsh spends a majority of her time in the Traverse City
office and every other month out in the forest canopy.
“We just returned from a two-week collection trip in California. Before, I
was in Ireland for 10 days doing oak collections. The forest is temperate,
green with moss and ferns. You get up there and there’s trees growing out
of other trees and limbs so wide you can lay down on them.”
AATA has traveled to several U.S. states, the Sierras, numerous places in
Michigan, as well as the Netherlands.
“We want to get to Austria and New Zealand,” she adds. “We have trees
specked out all over the world; it’s just a matter of funding.”
While Marsh enjoys escaping from the rest of the world on her climbs and
being places very few have ever wandered, she believes the best part about
her job is being a part of the overall mission.
“What we’re doing is not for our lifetime. You have to have vision for the
future, but you also have to effect change on a daily basis. You climb a
giant sequoia that has literally been standing for the last thousand years
– you have to wrap your mind around it. To think, ‘I am part of a living
heritage that will be around, hopefully, for another thousand years.’”

For more information on the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, visit
ancienttreearchive.org. The New York Times also recently featured the
organization in an April 9 article: nytimes.com.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5