For 20 years, the city of Sumner has enjoyed the distinguished reputation of being a Tree City USA, a designation bestowed from the Arbor Day Foundation.
With the title comes a responsibility by the city to preserve its trees, to spend at least $2 per capita on tree planting and preservation, and to have established an annual Arbor Day Celebration.
“It shows that the city government cares about the aesthetics and the overall benefits that come from a Tree City USA certification,” said Dan Gates, the city of Sumner’s parks, facilities supervisor and certified arborist. “It shows pride in the community.”
At the June 2 Sumner City Council meeting, Gates announced that the city had received the 2013 Tree City USA Growth Award. This award recognized the city’s efforts of going above and beyond the minimum standards of Tree City USA.
It’s a big deal because the city hadn’t received the award before.
Three significant accomplishments that qualified the city for the award was going above the recommended $2 per capita requirement; establishing a composting program using branch clippings from citywide trees; and finally, planting more than 600 trees in 2013.
“This gives us more green credits and makes us available for another level of grants,” Gates explained.
Starting next month the city will implement a $10,000 grant from the state Department of Natural Resources to do inventory of the tree canopy in the city.
“This helps us to plan for planting projects, to establish where we have our green areas and for areas that are lacking trees,” Gates said.
In 2013, the city spent more than $20,000 on tree planting and preservation. Citywide there are approximately 2,500 trees in the city right-of-ways and city property. Another hundred or more are in city parks and the city cemetery.
Volunteer Gene McCaul, the chair of the city’s parks and forestry commission, said this is a proud moment for Sumner.
“It’s not something we’ve been able to achieve every year,” McCaul said. “With the last couple of years, it’s been difficult to achieve because of the economy.”
In other words, it’s expensive to keep up with the $2 per capita minimum.
But throughout the city, Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow said the commitment to urban forestry shows.
“Sumner is a neat looking town and part of it is those trees you guys take such good care of,” Enslow told Gates at the June 2 council meeting. “Trees are a very big part of the quality of this town’s life. Thank you for getting us this award.”