Beautiful Oaks Doomed on Memorial Park Golf Course?

Are Big Trees Part of Massive Tree Felling Project in Public Park?


March 21, 2019

Updated March 24 and 28, 2019

Updated April 3, 2019: The trees are to be saved. The Parks Department finally responded with an email Wednesday morning, April 3. “In response to your question, the fencing is to protect the trees and not cut them down,” wrote Estella Espinosa, communications manager for the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.

Strolling along Memorial Drive past the fence obscuring the secret remodel of the public golf course in Houston’s Memorial Park, we noticed these lovely old oaks tagged with ties and surrounded by plastic fencing. We were alarmed. Hundreds of other trees, including mature oaks and pines, are marked for felling with plastic ribbons all over the 1500-acre park, which has already lost innumerable trees as the $200-300 million Master Plan is bulldozed into place. But these trees were on the golf course. Could it be they were marked for preservation? Other trees already have been felled as part of the controversial $13.5 million “upgrade” of the popular course into a PGA Tour tournament-level course.

Oaks marked for preservation or removal on golf course being remodeled in Houston’s Memorial Park? Photo March 18, 2019

Hundreds of trees all over the 1500-acre semi-forested park already have been felled or marked for removal as part of major landscaping plan. Photo March 18, 2019












Waiting for An Answer

We’ve contacted the Memorial Park Conservancy, the private nonprofit that raises funds and manages the park for the benefit of the people of Houston. We’ll have an answer soon, we hope.

Update: Representatives of the Conservancy have responded that the renovation of the golf course for PGA Tour tournaments is the responsibility of the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department and that we should ask HPARD about the trees. So we sent an email about the trees to HPARD Director Steve Wright late on Thursday, March 21, and we are waiting for a reply.

Update March 28: Still no word from the Houston Parks Department. Looking like the trees are doomed.



6 thoughts on “Beautiful Oaks Doomed on Memorial Park Golf Course?”

  1. Liz says:

    I’m truly hoping these are marked to SAVE! Too many trees lost during Hurricanes and trees are so important for the environment.

  2. I hope these trees will stay. There is absolutely no reason to spend money to remove these trees. Please follow the article in the Houston Chronicle today, “Scale Back Plans for Development of Memorial Park”.

    1. Yes, we hope the trees will stay too. Let the Memorial Park Conservancy and your City Council representative know what you think. Thank you for recommending the editorial by our founding board president, Frank Smith.

  3. Coby DuBose says:

    It’s cute how you put quotation marks around the word upgrade when discussing the golf course.

    Houston convinced Tom Doak, inarguably the greatest golf course architect of this era, to use his talent on this property. The course will be more playable, more dramatic, prettier, and flatly better after he’s done with it. When you disregard that by pretending his work is not serious, you make yourself look like a fool.

    1. We do not question the talent of Mr. Doak. The Memorial Park golf course was already one of the finest and most successful municipal golf courses in the country. We question whether the changes to the landscaping and use of the course, holding regular PGA Tour tournaments there, will result in a benefit and better experience for the majority of the Houstonians who use the course as well as the rest of the park.

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