USNPS brings in team of arborists to help salvage trees damaged by Hurricane Irma

Arborist Curtis Tilghman sees the national parks like no one else. He’s been in a tree over the grave of Thomas Edison. He’s cut branches under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. He’s repaired tree damage in the Chalmette National Cemetery and cut trees from an airboat at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.
Tilghman is one of 11 International Society of Arboriculture certified arborists from the National Park Service working on the Hurricane Irma recovery, mobilized into “Arborist Incident Response teams,” better known as AIR teams. These strike teams of arboristsplay a critical role in reopening national parks after hurricanes, ice storms, floods and other disasters. Additionally, with their technical expertise in both arboriculture and rigging, they are often able to strategically prune and ultimately save trees that would otherwise be cut down during recovery operations.

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