By Deanna Contreras
NAPA — PG&E employees got their hands dirty when they joined members of the nonprofit Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 16) and planted 33 trees along the proposed Vine Trail between Trower Avenue and Wine Country Avenue in Napa.
“Before the holidays, one of our PG&E foresters and I worked with the Vine Trail Organization to verify the safe placement of the trees as it relates to a gas transmission line that runs through the area,” said Greg Gillis, customer outreach specialist with PG&E’s Community Pipeline Safety Initiative. “That’s when we were asked if we wanted to help pre-dig the holes for the trees.”
PG&E employees joined about 60 other volunteers ranging from children to retirees. Also in attendance were Napa County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht and Congressmen Mike Thompson.
“My family is looking forward to riding our bikes on the trail this year when it’s warm and sunny,” said PG&E’s Mark Van Gorder, public affairs representative for the North Bay division. “I’ve lived in Napa for forty years. Planting trees is my way of ensuring our community remains a ‘Tree City’ for future generations.”
All the trees planted will not impact the safety of the gas system nearby. PG&E gas experts collaborated to identify tree placements that are not only safe but will allow aesthetic and environmental value for many years to come.
“Now that we have about 12 contiguous miles of Vine Trail open, from Kennedy Park in south Napa up through Yountville, it’s wonderful to see people finally using it, ” said Melissa Serpa, volunteer coordinator for the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition. “So now, in addition to completing the 47 miles of Vine Trail, we also are focused on beautifying it and providing opportunities for the community to get involved and out on the trail.”
Serpa adds that the tree planting is one of many ways the Vine Trail hopes to engage people who are passionate about being out on the trail and contributing to its creation. The 33 trees planted on MLK Day will eventually provide a shaded canopy over the stretch of the trail and will produce some vibrantly-hued fall foliage as well.
“It was amazing to have all those folks out there. It really showed me how much people value the Vine Trail and what it brings to the community. Everyone I worked with was really excited to be a part of the event and to see the kids and the adults having so much fun was well worth it,” added Gillis.
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