Nearly 3,000 trees around Sea-Tac Airport will be chopped down


SEATAC, Wash. -- Nearly 3,000 trees around Sea-Tac Airport will be chopped down in the coming years, and it's all to make flying into the busy airport safer for pilots and passengers.

When flying into Sea-Tac, one of the first things people notice are all the green trees. But for pilots, trees are the last thing they want to see.

Safety corridors are invisible zones all around the airport that have to be clear in case of an emergency. In total, around 2,800 trees will be removed over the next three years from around the airport. About a third of them are on land owned by the Port of Seattle, while others are on city land and 178 are planted on private property.

A tree in Ray Carbaugh's yard will have to go. Carbaugh, who has lived in SeaTac for 50 years, is taking the news in stride.

"Heard about it, read about it," he said. "I don't care. They'll grow back."

Not everyone in the area is as obliging as Carbaugh, but most realize the trees are coming down to make air travel safer for everyone. Also, the airport will compensate residents who lose trees.

Cutting the trees will have an environmental impact, and airport officials say they'll replant between one and five trees for each tree they cut down.

Everyone who will lose a tree has already been notified.

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