Tour the trees
MONROE — The city has been officially named a “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation because of the city’s commitment to effectively manage urban forest areas. The award came days before Arbor Day festivities began April 26.
Monroe is one of less than 100 cities in the state to receive this achievement.
To celebrate, the parks board has created a walking tour guide map of the Heritage Trees selected for 2019. These 10 trees are nominated by residents, and must be in some way historically significant, be of a large size or rare species, have some importance in the community and be planted conspicuously such as along an avenue or in a grove.
The walking guide shows where to find these impressive specimens and some interesting information about each.
The guide can be picked up at City Hall, 806 W. Main St. and the Monroe Historical Society Museum at 207 E. Main St. The tree list is also online at www.tinyurl.com/MonroeTreeTour
One of the trees is almost definitely a familiar one. A Coast Redwood, located between Highway 2 and East Main Street in Travelers Park, was the first tree chosen as a Heritage Tree. The tree has recently become the annual Christmas Tree that the city decorates for the holiday season.
A few others are a huge Port Orford cedar at 322 W. Main St. and a White Kousa Dogwood at Lewis Street Park.
Many in the city say that their commitment to constructing healthy, sustainable trees can have a numerous amount of benefits, whether it’s helping create local wealth or adding aesthetic beauty to the region.
“They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits” said Mike Farrell, the city’s Parks and Recreation Director.
Additionally, officials hope that the recognition of the city’s efforts to foster tree care and growth will move the community to continue their mission.
“This recognition brings our residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education” Farrell said.
Tami Kinney, a member of both the Monroe Historical Society and city’s parks board, said that she hopes the city can “inspire other cities in Snohomish County to follow our lead” and create urban forest centers for their communities to enjoy.
Additionally, the board is also launching a living Christmas tree program. This program will collect trees after the holidays and replant them in a scenic area.
In order to fulfill the requirements for the “Tree City USA” designation, cities must actively run a tree board or department that is tasked with managing urban forests, have tree care ordinances that mandate upkeep of trees, spend at least $2 per capita on forestry care and recognize Arbor Day as a holiday.
In a press release, Monroe Mayor Geoffrey Thomas said, “The Tree City USA program provides direction, assistance and national recognition for our community.”
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