Trees of Curtis Park: Duane Goosen never took Mother Nature’s shade for granted

Urban Forestry’s City Arborist Duane Goosen is retiring after 12 years of working to enhance Sacramento’s urban forest. Duane came to the city after working at the U.C. Davis arboretum for 19 years. He brought a wealth of tree and plant knowledge and introduced new tree species to plant along Sacramento’s streets and parks.

If I had to describe Duane in two words they would be quiet excellence. He was dedicated to doing what was best for the trees, never letting politics cloud his decision making, and staying out of the limelight.

I had the pleasure of working with Duane briefly before my career with Urban Forestry abruptly ended when I was moved out. There was a paradigm shift in how existing trees would be addressed during development. The direction of Urban Forestry changed from the protection and preservation of trees to remove and replace.

Duane realized that fighting to protect trees would be futile. However, he came up with the next best option, which was to maximize growing space to allow placement of large canopy shade trees. He developed planting requirements that included minimum turf free zones around the tree, the installation of organic mulch, and irrigation systems designed to water the entire root zone area.

Duane was relentless in fighting for planting space and would not allow the reduction in the park strip, the growing space between the curb and sidewalk. He would scrutinize parking lot shading plans to ensure the 50 percent shading requirement would be met. Duane was able to get developers to underground the overhead SMUD high voltage wires. This allowed large trees to be planted instead of the standard 25–30 foot tall small trees, which were required under the wires.

It was unfortunate that Duane did not work in our neighborhood on the Crocker Drive planting plan. The cork oaks are now leaning and some have already fallen over. Duane would never have approved of turf up against the bases of these oaks and inadequate planting space for a large canopy tree.

But Sacramento residents are fortunate because Duane and his wife are longtime Tahoe Park residents with no plans to move out of Sacramento. His tree knowledge and experience could be used assisting local tree advocacy groups. Thank you, Duane, for all the years of dedicated service to Sacramento’s Urban forest.

By Dan Pskowski
Viewpoint staff writer

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