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Meeting on Tree Cutting

Five months ago Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder sparked public outcry by cutting more than two acres of trees behind his Potomac home. The National Park Service had given him permission to cut the trees in violation of the scenic easement on properties along the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

Next week, elected officials, and officials from the National Park Service will meet to talk the issue over. Anyone interested in the issue is invited to attend.

In December, workers cut trees on a slope leading down to the C&O Canal behind Snyder’s home on River Road, about one-quarter mile north of Swain’s Lock. The land is protected by a 200-foot federal conservation easement. The tree-cutting was allowed under the Park Service deal but in violation of county forest conservation laws.

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8th) is sponsoring the meeting. Van Hollen has discussed the Snyder matter with constituents and sent letters expressing concern to Park Service and Department of the Interior officials. Van Hollen's office is advertising the meeting as dealing with "the management of scenic easements and the protection of trees and vegetation along the C&O Canal," though the debate will likely center on how the Snyder deal came about and why the public was unaware of the Park Service's negotiations until after the cutting.

Representatives from the National Park Service and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will participate. All interested parties are invited to attend. Park and Planning has fined Snyder for violating county forest conservation law and is negotiating with his representatives on a deal that will reportedly include a stronger, perpetual easement and a restoration plan, saving Snyder from going in front of the Planning Board for violations.

The meeting will take place June 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Potomac Elementary School, 10311 River Road. For more information, call Van Hollen's district office at 301-424-3501.