Royal Oak achieves Tree City USA status every year since bicentennial

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published March 30, 2015

 Royal Oak flies its Tree City USA flag outside City Hall. The City has achieved the Tree City USA distinction since 1976.

Royal Oak flies its Tree City USA flag outside City Hall. The City has achieved the Tree City USA distinction since 1976.

Photo by Victoria Mitchell


ROYAL OAK — The city recently achieved a status only two municipalities in Michigan have earned — maintaining the Tree City USA designation for the past 37 years.

The Arbor Day Foundation recently granted recognition to Royal Oak as a 2014 Tree City USA, extending its run as a community that makes the planting and care of trees a priority.

Royal Oak and Adrian are the only two communities in Michigan that have been recognized with the Tree City USA award every year since the beginning of the Michigan program in 1976.

“Royal Oak is committed to effective community forestry management,” said Anthony Marek, Arbor Day Foundation director of communications.

Marek said the Tree City USA distinction shows civic pride, public engagement and accountability.

“Tree City USA provides an effective template for urban and community forest management,” he said.

A community achieves Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: creating a tree board or department, having a tree-care ordinance, having an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and having an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

The city will hold an Arbor Day observance ceremony at 10 a.m. April 23 at 3500 Marais Ave.

According to the foundation, cleaner air, improved stormwater management, energy savings, increased property values and increased commercial activity are among the benefits enjoyed by Tree City USA communities.

“We are very proud of the tenure as a tree city,” Royal Oak Director of Public Service Greg Rassel said. “It shows Royal Oak’s commitment to the environment and recognizes the benefits trees provide all aspects of making Royal Oak a great place to live.”

Royal Oak joins more than 3,400 Tree City USA communities, with a combined population of 140 million. The program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

“Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens in communities like Royal Oak make smart investments in urban forests,” Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, stated in a press release. “Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social and environmental benefits.”

Harris stated that trees are one part of a community infrastructure that actually increases in value over time.