The City of Bishop declared a local Arbor Day in order to become an official Tree City USA, a designation that will further the city’s overall nationwide status and its City Park Arboretum Project.
Earlier this fall, the City Council approved City Administrator and Community Services Director Keith Caldwell’s request to proclaim April 22, 2014 as Bishop’s first Arbor Day. In so doing, the city has met the final requirement necessary to become a Tree City USA, a program of the Arbor Day Foundation. It is “a national program that provides the framework for community forestry management for cities and towns across America,” according to foundation website www.arborday.org .
Bishop’s Arbor Day was chosen to coincide with Earth Day, Parks Supervisor Dan McElroy said. In harmony with the spirit of the first national Arbor Day, April 10, 1872, which was celebrated by the planting of more than a million trees, Bishop has developed a budgeted plan to manage and develop its trees, McElroy said, and the Bishop Tree Committee oversees that plan. Fulfilling other Tree City USA requirements, Bishop’s tree care guidelines are posted on the city’s website at www.ca-bishop.us  and a tree ordinance “states the certain species of tree you can and cannot plant.”
Tree City USA no-fees, no-dues membership will benefit the city in several ways: “It is a gateway for us to apply for grants and other Day proclamation, trees also reduce erosion of “precious topsoil,” clean the air and are a renewable resource for building, fuel and other materials. Trees “increase property values; enhance the economic vitality of business areas; and beautify our community … Wherever they are planted, (trees) are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.”
McElroy said he anticipates submitting the completed application this month and being approved within two weeks.
In the meantime, the arboretum project is expected to move forward in the spring, upon completion of the Public Works’ Pine-to-Park Path Project, McElroy said. “We are waiting until they put in the pathways,” perhaps in the spring, to continue with phase two, which will include signage installation and landscaping at the rear of the park.
For anyone interested in being part of the arboretum project process, membership is open to the public and the Bishop Tree Committee meets at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at City Hall. Core members are Charles Milligan, David Grah, Alison Collin, Dustin Blakely, Ed Morse and Hal Klieforth, McElroy said. Membership is open to the public and the committee meets at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at City Hall.
Furthermore, donations to the arboretum project may be made out to “Bishop Rotary Foundation,” the vehicle that is processing the funds, said Rotary Treasurer Randy Van Tassell, and the mailing address is 119 MacIver St., Ste. G, Bishop, CA 93514.funding for the arboretum and other projects,” McElroy said. Membership “brings publicity and notoriety to every tree city in the U.S. – there are thousands throughout the nation. And supplies support for public events from state and federal agencies.”
The tree committee recommended that Bishop become a Tree City USA in order “to develop the trees, in conjunction with the community, to benefit everyone,” McElroy said. The committee is concerned with people’s relationship to trees, he explained. Trees provide “a habitat for animals and birds; shade structures that keep down the cost of air conditioning; a place for passive recreation activity – like bird watching, picnicking and lying under a tree and relaxing” – and aesthetics.
According to the City Council’s Sept. 9 Arbor