A Napa tradition came to an end with the start of the new year after someone cut off Napa’s “moose”—a bulge in the shape of a long-snout—from the side of a eucalyptus tree near Alston Park.
The moose, which greeted strollers, bikers and motorists on Dry Creek Road, had sported various colors over the years, from those of Rudolph’s the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the San Francisco Giants’, local schools’ colors and even Bulgaria’s. It even had its own Facebook page.
But on Thursday, all was left of the moose was a smiley face and some saw dust.
The eucalyptus tree, estimated to be about 50 feet tall, is scheduled to be removed during the development of a 14-home subdivision. However, discussions were under way to remove the moose, save it and display it in a public setting.
“It’s a complete shocker,” said Eric Zweig, the director of planning for Edenbridge Homes, the Cupertino developer that’s planning to develop the subdivision sometime this spring.
Zweig strongly denied the developer had removed the moose, saying the developer wanted to display the moose in a public place. The tree, which straddles the property line, has to be removed for a sidewalk.
Zweig said he will approach city officials Monday to figure a way for the moose to be turned in. “I hope that we can find it,” he said.
“It’s hugely disappointing,” he said, referring to the incident.
City Councilman Peter Mott, who had discussed displaying the moose at Downtown Joe’s or another public place, stressed neither the city not developer had anything to do with what happened to the moose.
“It wasn’t the city and it wasn’t the developer” Mott said Thursday.
Napans stopped by the eucalyptus tree after learning that the moose had been cut off.
“Who would do such a thing?” said Jay Templeton, after pulling up in his car with wife, Sharon.
Templeton, a Browns Valley resident, always looked at the moose on his way to work as the executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Helena and Calistoga, he said.
“It was almost human,” said Templeton, 63. “It was friendly and happy. It was unique.”
“It was a community icon. It was a friend to everybody that went by.”
Thom Arcadi, ranch manager at Connolly Ranch, also stopped by the moose tree Thursday after he learned the moose had been cut. He hopes the moose shows up somewhere, he said. “I hope someone takes care of it,” added Arcadi, 66.
Younger Napa residents also came to check the tree.
“I loved the moose,” said Theo Matz, a 2013 Napa High School graduate who now attends Purdue University.
Matz, now 19, wondered if a city-sponsored replica of the moose could be placed somewhere, perhaps at Alston Park.
“It’s kind of sad,”said Matz, who came to check on the eucalyptus tree with a friend, Evan Tjeerdema, a senior at Napa High School.
Other motorists slowed as they drove by the site.
“I hope they figure who did this,” said a man in a pickup truck.