NEWS BLOG
LovelandPolitics
Loveland's Independent News Source
Loveland - October 25, 2013

For fifty years the cottonwoods on the southeast shore of Lake Loveland have framed
resident views of the lake and mountains beyond as they travel west on Eisenhower Blvd
by Lake Loveland.  Many historic pictures of Lake Loveland, the miniature Statue of
Liberty sculpture and boat ramp feature these trees.  During the daytime people park in
the shade of these trees to enjoy lake views while at night teenagers for generations
(now many  middle aged and older) necked under these trees at night with their first
love.

Long a landmark in the community, these trees are in their last season.  Earlier this week
a vandal destroyed the trees by cutting deep rings (called girdling) around the bases to
slowly kill them.  Lake area residents say they know who did it and want the man
arrested for destroying city property.

The boat ramp and trees sit on property owned by the City of Loveland.  The  lake is
owned by the City of Greeley but operated by the Greeley Loveland Irrigation Company
(GLIC).    In the 1980's the property owners surrounding Lake Loveland bought the
surface rights to the lake and formed a group to manage those rights called the Lake
Loveland Recreational Club (LLRC).  Thus the City of Loveland, LLRC and GLIC have
collaboratively managed Lake Loveland since with few problems.

Man with a motive - Brian Schumm

Last August Ft. Collins resident Brian Schumm purchased the property at 1402 Lake
Drive in Loveland.  The brick house sits just south of the miniature Statue of  Liberty
sculpture and across the street for the cottonwoods recently vandalized.  Schumm is
anxious about removing the trees on city property in the belief they obstruct his views of
the lake and diminish the value of his property.

Shortly after purchasing the property Schumm began a major renovation of the aging
house.  In addition to structural repairs, he also began removing trees from his own
property before setting his sights on the trees on city property across the street from his
own.  Schumm approached Ron Brinkman of GLIC and informed him the trees were  
diseased and falling thus needed to be removed before someone gets hurt.  In response,
GLIC granted permission to remove the trees without first notifying either the City of
Loveland on whose property the trees are located or the LLRC which enjoys an easement
from the city to use and maintain the same property.  Normally, such an activity would
require GLIC approval since they are near the water but ultimately it is the property
owner whose permission is required.

The first week in September 2013, just days before the storms came that would later
flood the community, Schumm hired the Rocky Mountain Tree Trimming company to
take out the cottonwoods bordering Lake Loveland.  A nearby elderly resident, in his
eighties, tried to halt the operation shortly after some top branches were cut which
began an angry confrontation for which the Loveland Police were called.  According to
witnesses, Loveland Police told Schumm and the tree trimmers not to remove the trees
until the location of the trees (whose property) could be properly established.

Subsequently, the LLRC got involved and had the trees independently inspected for
diseases which confirmed the trees were in good health and did not require removal
(see email by LLRC President to members regarding the matter.)  Shortly after the LLRC
inspection, GLIC rescinded the permission to Schumm and instructed him to leave the
trees alone as their permission was predicated on false information he provided them.

LLRC member and Loveland attorney Richard Ball personally notified Brian Schumm
the permission was rescinded along with others.  Schumm presented GLIC's Brinkman  
with a long letter disputing their rescission a few days later but according to an October
22, email from Brinkman, he was too preoccupied by that point with the flood  situation
to respond to Schumm in writing.

LovelandPolitics contacted Brian Schumm and asked about the rings.  He at first acted as
if he didn't know about the rings but than said,

"I really shouldn't be talking with you.   There are lots of things going on."

When asked directly whether he did or did not cut the tree rings he responded. "I have a
letter from the Greeley company giving me permission to remove those trees."   
He
than declined to answer our follow-up question about whether that means he cut the
rings into the trees.

Vandal Strikes At Night

Earlier this week neighbors taking a morning stroll noticed the ring around the
trees.Upon closer inspection, they discovered someone had cut deep rings around the
trees to prohibit the natural flow of nutrients necessary for the trees to survive.  

The trees were "girdled" thus restricting the ability of the leaves to transfer sugar to the
roots as explained below on Wikipedia article on
tree Girdling

"Like all vascular plants, trees use two vascular tissues for transportation of water and
nutrients: the xylem (also known as the wood), and the phloem (the innermost layer
of the bark). Girdling results in the removal of the phloem, and death occurs from the
inability of the leaves to transport sugars (primarily sucrose) to the roots. In this
process, the xylem is left untouched, and the tree can usually still temporarily
transport water and minerals from the roots to the leaves."

According to a local botanist consulted for this article, she believes the trees will likely
die before Spring.

Members of LLRC believe Brian Schumm is the vandal and want the police to
investigate.  They have contacted the city's parks department for assistance but haven't
been able to get any response to date.   GLIC has stated there is nothing they can do now
except,
"watch the trees die."
Tree Killer At Large
Letter by President of Lake Loveland
Recreational Club to members

On Oct 21, 2013, at 9:45 PM, Rob Woodward wrote:

Not sure what to do with this info.  But seems like
Loveland folks would be interested and upset.  Some
guy has decided to cut and kill trees on city property
to improve his view.

In early September, Brian Shumm (the owner of the
brick house at 1402 Lake Drive across the street
from the Lake Loveland boat ramp, cell (420-1563)
hired a company to remove a couple of trees on the
lake that were blocking his view.  The trees are
across the street from his house, and they currently
provide shade to people who park in that lot.  He got
permission from Ron Brinkman at Greeley Loveland
Irrigation Company after telling GLIC that the trees
were diseased and dying.

A neighbor noticed the company cutting down the
trees and tried to get them to stop.  The
confrontation escalated and the police were called
in.  Mr. Shumm was instructed to stop cutting down
the trees until the ownership of the trees was
confirmed.  Just a couple of branches had been
removed at that point.

After meeting with an arborist, I notified GLIC that the
trees were healthy cottonwoods, and that GLIC had
granted permission under false pretenses.  GLIC
withdrew permission.  (by the way GLIC didn't have
authority from city or LLRC) We went to talk things
over with Mr. Shumm, and told him that GLIC had
withdrawn permission and that he should not make
any further attempts to remove the trees.

Last week, we noticed that someone had cut deep
rings around the entire circumference of both trees
(these rings will cause rapid death of both trees).  
Mr. Shumm says he has "no idea who would do
that."  I confirmed with the tree cutting company that
those rings were not cut when they left the job, and
were cut after they left.

Additionally, he has decided he doesn't want people
to park on the public street in the front of his house.  
So he has placed "no parking" signs in his grass.  
The police said they couldn't take action because
the signs themselves are on private property.

Rob Woodward
View from the westside of the property Brian Schumm purchased last August.  The trees on City
of Loveland property across the street are visible from the house.  Schumm is being accused by
neighbors of vandalizing the trees after the Loveland Police and GLIC told him not to harm the
trees until the matter could be resolved.