Fate of landmark tree expected this week
WATSON -- A Watson woman hopes to learn the fate of a landmark tree early this week.
Kylene Olson, former mayor of Watson, is attempting to save the "Watson Mile Tree'' along Minnesota Highway 7/U.S. Highway 59 near the Chippewa County community. She believes the towering cottonwood could be 150 years old.
It was slated to be felled as part of a project to build a sanitary sewer line from Watson to Montevideo.
The tree's demise was put on hold after Olson learned about the plans and rallied support to save it. The project has also been slowed by last week's rain, which filled the ditch to be excavated for the line with water.
Engineers for the project, Widseth, Smith and Nolting and Associates, have been seeking a way to spare the tree at Olson's request. They are scheduled to meet with the affected landowner this week to investigate possible easements to allow a rerouting of the line, Olson told the Tribune on Friday.
She said the project manager also said they would explore an option of directional boring to avoid cutting down the tree.
The tree's fate has been the subject of numerous postings on a Facebook page devoted to it, and Olson said she's heard both support and criticism of the effort to save it.
She said the effort has at least generated bipartisan support. After a photo of U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D- Minn., standing alongside Olson by the tree was published, someone placed a "Vote for Emmer'' sign at the site.
Follow the ongoing effort to save the tree on Olson's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/