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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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January 17, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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January 17, 2001
 

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lISA Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2001 Community News Jan. 17 Public protest tries to bring it back By Terri Nacar instate the Shoe Tree lies in a Portola Editor statement made by one sup- Contributed to by Victoria Metcalf porter. Many years ago (ome esti- "If the people win it would mates indicate about 40 years) be wonderful...because our a tree growing alongside ofsystem has trained us to give Highway 395, three miles up." north of Hallelujah Junction, Greer believes the Shoe Tree began sprouting shoes of all movement may end up being a sizes, shapes and colors and civics lesson for all. quickly became known as the"It is important that we "Shoe Tree." abide by our laws and that we Throughout the years, the demonstrate to our children tree has become a popular lo- and grandchildren the proper cation for tourists and cam- way to make a change in laws eras, as a tree growing shoes is we don't agree with, so no one not a common sight, is advocating that shoes be But, something happened placed on the Shoe Tree until this past December and those the littering signs come passing by immediately no- down," she said. ticed the shoes were missing. Caltrans Maintenance Su- Almost as suddenly as the perintendent Katherine Coots shoes disappeared, three new said her department is stuck in signs sprouted, the middle of the controversy. One large sign located di- There are two factions, the rectly in front of the tree dis- more vocal group that wants to plays the message "$1,000 fine see the Shoe Tree remain, and for littering" and two smaller a quieter, but just as signifi- signs, one on each side of the cant group, who is tired of the highway just prior to the Shoe garbage, human waste and oth- Tree turnout, bear the sameer problems that occur when message, some members of the public The dismantling of the Shoestop at the site. Tree and the erection of the "There is no problem with signs has become an emotional the idea of the Shoe Tree; how- issue for some, including local ever, in practice there are resident Vickee Greer. some problems," Coots said. Greer said a simple state- "Some people prefer the tree ment of support, collecting sip- in its natural state," she said, natures regarding the Shoe pointing out that there aren't Tree tradition, started out as a too many trees to admire in measure of the public's opin- that area. "We have received ion about the issue, complaints asking us to clean "Approximately 1,000 signa-it up." tures later, support for this "This area is a constant lit- man-made tradition has beenter problem, because of the overwhelming," she said. people stopping there; some Although the signature people do not clean up after sheets are not official docu- themselves," she said. ments according to Greer, they And, the work falls to Cal- are indicators of support, trans workers, and tax dollars, She said some supporters re- to clean it up. lated special personal memo- "It is a health and safety haz- ries of this tree stemming back ard," Coots said, applying state to their childhoods, while oth- regulations to the situation. ers simply asked, "What does "The crew has removed dirty it hurt?" diapers and used condoms that "Many indicated they are were thrown in the tree, piles frustrated witl one more rule of human waste on the ground, or one more threat being im- and used syringes." posed in opposition to the will "Think of a family stopping of the majority," she said.to look at the tree," Coots said. Supporters agree the visual threat of a fine slaps every traveler in the face every time pass thetree .... Greer said the importance of the grassroots movement to re- "They leftheir dog out, who then walks through some of the piles of human waste be- fore getting back in the car with the kids." And, this isn't just an exam- ple, it's a complaint from the public There is also the considera- tion for the type of tree select- ed as the Shoe Tree. Junipers are brittle. Snow and ice hang- ing on the shoes does cause damage to the limbs on the tree, Coots said. "Some of the shoes, boots without laces for instance, are put up with wire, which also causes damage to the tree," Coots said, and it's up to Cal- trans to protect the tree, as well as keep the roads safe. As for posting the $1,000 lit- tering sign, this is a state ordi- nance aimed at those who lit- ter. Caltrans didn't write the law, but they must post signs in areas that are becoming public nuisances. "People don't know how much time we spend trying to keep it half way decent," Coots added about the real issue, which is the trash that ends up at the spot. Coots said there is also the larger issue--what one seg- ment of the public finds enter- taining, disturbs another seg- ment. Giving an example, on a tree behind the Shoe Tree, the Bra Tree suddenly began. Caltrans has removed all of the bras from that tree, and will contin- ue to do so Coots said that neither Greer nor anyone else support- ing the Shoe Tree has contact- ed her on the issue. WE DO TYPESETTING! Call: "THE PRINT SHOP" at Feather Publishing, 283-0800 1690 E. Main 283-1960 /|, 7 ~ .%. 't Phot01 the Shoe Tree, ltd.,abel on Highway 395 just north of Hallelujah Junction has ular tourist attraction for more than 40 years. Foreign exchange Schiesst, from Austria, thought it great fun having her picture taken in front for her friends back home. it may have been the last picture taken, as the stands bare of all shoe fruit. 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