400 Trees Cut Down for Space Shuttle Endeavor

Source: Treebune News, Sept.10. To arrive at its final resting place at the California Science Center (CSC) after landing at LAX, Endeavour will travel its final 12 miles through the city streets of South L.A. To clear a path for the 170,000-pound, five-story tall and 78-foot wide shuttle requires the removal of 400 shade trees along the route. While the CSC has agreed to replant twice as many trees, these will be small, young trees that won’t provide much shade or other benefits for many years — and likely depreciate property values. There are mixed feelings all around.

Other alternatives to moving Endeavor — helicopter airlift, taking the shuttle apart, and even the use of freeways — all proved not feasible. In addition to taking down older pine, ficus, magnolia, and other trees, power lines will be raised and traffic signals removed.

CSC is expected to spend $500,000 to improve the city’s landscape. City officials and CSC hope the historic significance of the event and housing the shuttle will offset the tree loss. In its 25 missions spanning nearly two decades, Endeavour circled the Earth more than 4,600 times, spending 299 days in space.

The October 12th arrival of Endeavour and its journey to CSC’s Exposition Park will culminate with a two-day parade, an overnight slumber party in Inglewood, and other celebrations. Tree planting is expected to begin a few weeks after the event. Resident feelings are mixed. 

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