Resident Bud Jenkins had a recent trip to the hospital after a cottonwood tree fell onto his car during a trip down Highway 5 near Blackpool. Former timber feller Bob Mumford said he’s been aware of the threat the trees pose to motorists for some time, and he’s calling on the provincial government address the situation. Unsplash photo

Cottonwood trees pose threat to motorists

Government has program to remove danger trees, but sometimes the responsibility is the landowner’s

When Bud Jenkins and his wife were taking a recent cruise down Highway 5, the last thing on their minds was the potential danger of the cottonwood trees along the sides of the road.

That would change, however, when one of the trees came crashing down on their car in Blackpool last month, sending him to the hospital for surgery.

“A whole tree fell on me, it came right across the front of our car and finished it off; it took four hours to get the surgery done on my neck,” said Jenkins.

“We thought nothing of (the dangerous trees). It was windy and we were just driving and it fell right on our car.”

Jenkins’ friend, Bob Mumford, is a former timber faller and has been aware of the situation for a couple of years.

He said he’s tried to bring attention to the danger trees by writing letters to the Clearwater Times, as well as to the B.C. Government, in hopes of shining light on the issue.

Trees falling on highway a danger for motorists

“If you take a drive and specifically look for the trees that are leaning across the highway it’s just incredible,” said Mumford.

“You wonder how a lot of them are even standing up, why they haven’t fallen over yet, and the really big cottonwoods, a lot of them have huge limbs hanging right out over the highway above an entire lane.”

Mumford said by working as a timber faller, he became aware of the dangers cottonwoods pose because how quick the specific type of tree is to rot.

The worst stretch of Highway 5 is between Little Fort and Blackpool, but the hazardous cottonwoods can be found all the way to Kamloops, he said.

“It’s an especially extreme hazard area because it’s kind of swampy type ground that the cottonwood really likes to grow in, so all you have to do is take a drive past Little Fort and you can just see it,” said Mumford.

“Most people just drive through and never give it a thought, but I guess having worked as a faller in the bush for so many years I just have this extra sense for this type of thing because what keeps you alive is being aware of the dangers.”

Mumford suggested the province trim the trees back on the land under its jurisdiction, or at the very least, erect warning signs to make motorists aware of the dangers along the highway.

He added if one of the branches, or like in Jenkin’s case an entire tree, were to fall on a tour bus, the results could be extraordinarily disastrous.

“There are just endless scenarios, and I tend not to get overly excited about things where anything can happen at any time, that’s for granted, but this hazard is too obvious,” he said.

“(In Jenkins’ case) if the tree had fallen a second sooner, it would have killed him and his wife both, the speed they were going, it would have come through the windshield and just cleaned house—so that’s my perspective on it.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in an email statement that the ministry does have an annual program to remove danger trees from within its road rights of way, though in some cases the responsibility for managing these trees rests with the landowner.

“The ministry at times may approach landowners with an offer to partner in the removal of hazardous trees,” she said.

“We currently do not have plans to remove trees along this section of Highway 5; however, we will take the recent concerns brought forward into consideration as we continue to prioritize our work throughout the area.”

She added as part of the service agreement with the ministry, maintenance contractors are obligated to carry out sweeping, brushing and clearing activities along provincial roadways and ministry right-of-way areas.

For more information on this process to maintain safe driving conditions, readers can visit:

If people encounter trees or shrubs that have fallen onto the road, or are encroaching on B.C. roadways, they are encouraged to contact their local maintenance contractor.

For the Kamloops area, people can connect with Argo Road Maintenance at 1-800- 661-2025.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Clearwater Carpet Bowlers make yearly donation

Three local charities to receive funds raised by group

Highway 5 road conditions for Dec. 13

What motorists can expect

Editor, The Times:

To the folks of Clearwater and area

Fundraiser gives food bank a needed push

Event offered a silent auction, bake sale, crafts and a concert by Wells Gray Lively Arts Society

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

Most Read