Fifty American chestnut tree seedlings were planted in Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park on Arbor Day, the first time in memory that pure American chestnuts were planted at their namesake county park since a devastating blight killed off the species in the park decades ago.
Taking part in the planting were Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and county parks personnel, members of the Chestnut Ridge Conservancy and others from the community. The 50 trees are the first in a re-introduction plan that will eventually see the chestnuts cross-pollinated with chestnut strains that are blight resistant.
"Today, on Arbor Day 2018, we are welcoming these friends back to their namesake park, Chestnut Ridge, and are taking the first steps towards bringing these foundations of the forest back to prominence," Poloncarz said on Friday.
The trees are being planted throughout Chestnut Ridge in groups of two and three to make it harder for blight to spread.