Milton is again a Tree City USA.
For the eleventh year, the Arbor Day Foundation has honored Milton as one of more than 3,600 communities nationwide to earn the Tree City USA distinction.
In a letter to the City's government, the Arbor Day Foundation's President Dan Lambe wrote, "Residents of Milton should be proud to live in a community that makes the planting and care of trees a priority."
Milton earned this recognition for 2019 after meeting the program's four requirements: having a municipal tree department, a tree ordinance, a community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance.
Milton was first named a Tree City USA for 2009, just three years after its incorporation. This distinction and a recently expanded arboretum in Bell Memorial Park are among the legacies of its longtime Arborist Mark Law, who died from cancer last February.
In a news release, the Arbor Day Foundation -- a nonprofit conservation and education organization -- credited Milton for demonstrating "a commitment to effective urban forest management and doing its part to help address the challenges for Milton residents now and in the future."
Trees have been central to efforts to preserve Milton's rural heritage and environment, including ongoing discussions related to the City's Tree Canopy Conservation ordinance . One stated goal of possible revisions -- which have not been finalized and would need the City Council's approval to become law -- is to focus more on canopies, so the umbrella coverage of a tree, rather than trunk size. There also has been an emphasis on balance, given the understanding that open fields, pastures and agricultural settings are critical to Milton's identity and quality of life just like heavily wooded areas.
"We take great pride in our trees and their fundamental role in what makes Milton look and feel so special," said Mayor Joe Lockwood . "That's why the Tree City USA honor matters so much to us, and also why we continue to look into fine-tuning our tree ordinance."