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Late last night we heard a crash. Must have been about 2 in the morning. My wife and I thought it was kids playing with fireworks in the cemetery behind our house. That’s not an unusual sound to hear this close to July 4th. Beats the hell out of the sound of gunfire.

After the dogs stopped barking we rolled over and went back to sleep. But when we woke up this morning we discovered one of the huge maple trees in our back yard had lost a limb. It had to be 40 inches in diameter at its base and its mass of branches and leaves completely covered the Capital City bike path.

I thought I was going to spend my morning explaining to people what had happened. Even though the tree is technically in our backyard it belongs to the City of Madison, part of the property easement we once shared with the old railroad line that is now one of the prettiest cycling and walking paths in the world. Well anyway, before I could get my first cup of coffee, at 6:30 AM on a Sunday mind you, a city maintenance crew was out there with chainsaws clearing the path for a beautiful day of outdoor recreation. It took them about 20 minutes and anyone passing by now would never had known there was ever an obstruction.


This is one of the MANY reasons why I love to live in Madison. I’m told our property taxes are among the highest in the country, but today I couldn’t care less. I’m going to write that check at the end of next month with a smile on my face because I know that my dollars are going to preserve the community where I live and work.

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.