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Fort Braden Community petition to save Big Oak Tree from being cut down

Duke Energy wanting to cut down Big Oak tree to install more power lines
Posted at 6:00 PM, Oct 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-12 21:29:34-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "They're a big company. They don't have to cut this tree down," says Gina Ouzts.

The historical Big Oak could soon be cut down to make room for new power lines. The 96-year-old tree sits in front of the Old Fort Braden School built in 1926 on Blountstown Highway. According to the National Registry of Historic places website the school was added to its registry in 1994.

"It's part of this historical site that is on the registry. It means a lot to people out there, here. It's part of our community," says Outz.

Gina Outz has been a member of the Fort Braden community for 36 years.

Last month Duke Energies announced a project to lay new power lines along the Blountstown Highway where the oak tree is located.

A plan that is receiving push-back from people who say the tree has been part of their community for generations.

“It’s just always been here,” says Ouzts.

It’s not certain the fate of the tree however Duke Energy released a statement reading:

"Duke Energy takes the concerns of the community very seriously. We respect the history, aesthetics and understand this tree is part of the community. We are thoughtfully considering all options. We are committed to continuing to work with the community."

Though that has not stopped residents from doing all that they can to stop it. Including reaching out to county commissioners, petitioning daily, and setting up an on-line petition that’s received 700 petition signatures.

"It's not dead and I don't see why they can't make an alternate route for the power line," says Ouzts.