Over the objections of conservation and preservation groups, as well as private citizens, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given Arlington National Cemetery the go-ahead to cut down nearly 800 native trees near Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee National Memorial.
The Corps performed an environmental assessment that concluded that the proposal, designed to expand the cemetery to allow for more burials, would have “no significant adverse impact” on the environment of the site. The oldest trees in the area in question, which include some that are over 200 years old, would be protected under the expansion proposal, but others, some of which are up to 145 years old, would be removed.
Preservation Arlington is disappointed that the Army Corps has allowed for the removal of a significant area of trees that contribute to the extensive historical and ecological context of the original Arlington Estate. We will continue to monitor this project as it develops and work to ensure that the natural and historic context of Arlington House is protected to the greatest extent possible.
This Washington Post article has additional information on this development.