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Cleveland Metroparks says it doesn't plan to replace beloved cottonwood tree at Huntington Beach

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Posted at 1:10 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 13:10:21-05

BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — Cleveland Metroparks said it does not have any plans to plant a new tree to replace a beloved cottonwood that was removed from Huntington Beach after it was struck by lightning last year.

Known to those who frequent the Bay Village beach, the cottonwood tree was a lone fixture located in an idyllic spot. Its position on the beach made it a favorite among photographers who could capture the tree, the water and the skyline.

Jeff Tolman, communications and outreach manager for the Cleveland Metroparks, said the tree was struck by lightning earlier in 2020. Certified risk assessment arborists investigated, and they found significant rotting at the base.

The rotting at the base, combined with the tree leaning towards the popular beach, and its susceptibility to high winds off the lake, posed a risk to visitors and led to its removal.

"Due to susceptibility from water and weather, it is a very difficult location for a tree to grow, and a newly planted tree would be unlikely to survive, which is part of what made the tree so special to so many," Tolman said.

The tree was appreciated by photographers like Gabe Leidy who captured it in all its essence in every Cleveland occasion—snow, summer and full moon nights.

James Valenty is another photographer who captured the tree before it was removed.

While the tree's location made its departure from the beach inevitable, cottonwood is thriving at Cleveland Metropark's Wendy Park, where thousands of monarch butterflies descend from Canada to the shores of Lake Erie, resting before making the long trip to Mexico.

Like the famous Willow at Edgewater Park, this cottonwood had a special place in the hearts of visitors. A tribute has been set up where the base of the cottonwood once stood. News 5 photographer Alex Farmer took this photo.

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RELATED: The Weeping Willow tree at Edgewater is Cleveland's most famous tree

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