In the near future, you may start to see an increase of construction equipment and a decrease in the number of trees throughout Golden Gate Park. If you’ve visited the park lately, you may have noticed a few small white signs attached to some trees. The Recreation and Park Department has identified 155 trees that they expect to cut down in the coming months.

The overall plan is part of a project that has entered the second phase of a program meant to eliminate hazardous trees throughout the park. This plan also includes the planting of new trees – which will add to the estimated 25,000 trunks already scattered across Golden Gate Park.

The culling of trees in Golden Gate Park falls under a citywide park forestry program that dates back to 2008. Voters approved a parks bond designating $4 million to hire a contractor to assess trees within the park. The health of more than 3,000 trees was evaluated in 2011 – ranked on a scale of three to 12 (with 12 signifying the worst health). The contractor made a recommendation to remove 322 ‘problem’ trees – 268 of which were given a rating of nine or higher.

The first official phase of the Golden Gate Park tree program was launched in 2012, where a contractor was hired to remove 209 trees and prune 17. The changes were seen along the perimeter of open spaces, as well as near parking lots, buildings and meadows.

Most recently, a new crop of trees have been tagged for removal as the second phase of the plan is put into effect. Perennials located near streets and children’s playgrounds are now the objective with 155 slated for removal. Forty-four trees will undergo pruning.

Following the removal of trees, which is scheduled to begin at the end of February or later, the department has plans to plant more than 550 new trees across the park.