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WASHINGTON (AP) — As Washington, D.C., prepares for the peak bloom of its beloved cherry blossoms, local residents are expressing outrage over the removal of several trees in the Tidal Basin area.

The National Park Service recently cut down a number of cherry blossom trees, leaving behind unsightly stumps that have sparked anger among the community. The decision to remove the trees was made as part of a long-term project to improve the health and appearance of the iconic cherry blossoms in the area.

The National Park Service stated that the trees were removed due to their poor health and declining condition. The agency plans to replace the removed trees with new saplings in the hopes of rejuvenating the cherry blossom population in the Tidal Basin.

Despite the park service’s explanation, many Washington residents are upset by the removal of the trees. Some have taken to social media to express their disappointment, with many describing the stumps left behind as an eyesore.

With the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms expected to occur in the coming weeks, the controversy over the removal of the trees has cast a shadow over the annual event. Local officials are hopeful that the new trees planted by the National Park Service will eventually grow and restore the beauty of the cherry blossoms in the Tidal Basin area.