Arbor Day celebration set for April 26

by: HOLLY M. GILL - The city of Madras was recognized April 9  for its 20th year as a Tree City USA. Katie Lompa, kneeling, of the Oregon Department of Forestry, presented a crystal award to Mayor Melanie Widmer, right. Urban Forestry Commission member Brad Jorgensen (left), parks supervisor Jonathan Burchell, commission member Becky Burchell, and Wray Harris, parks crew leader took part in the celebration.The city of Madras will celebrate Arbor Day Friday, April 26, by planting trees along a new segment of the Willow Creek Trail — which winds up the hill west of town to the “M.”

Beginning at 4:15 p.m., the Urban Forestry Commission and the Kids Club invite the public to the tree-planting ceremony on the south side of the hill, near the Culver Highway access point. Attendees are encouraged to use the parking area at the Madras Bike and Skate Park on H Street.

On April 9, the Arbor Day Foundation recognized the city for its 20th year as a Tree City USA, with a crystal award, presented to the Madras City Council by Katie Lompa, community assistance forester for the Oregon Department of Forestry. The award honors the city’s commitment to effective urban forest management.

“Along with you, the Department of Forestry recognizes the important contribution trees make to the community,” Lompa noted. “We work toward healthy, sustainable forests, both urban and rural.”

As part of its commitment to the Tree City USA program, the city first adopted a tree-care ordinance and established a tree board — the Urban Forestry Commission, and agreed to spend $2 per capita each year on a community tree-care program, and hold an Arbor Day ceremony each year.

The Arbor Day celebration will precede the dedication of the new trail segment, which will take place in May, when all work on the trail is complete. The segment consists of 1.3 miles of trail extending from the Willow Creek Canyon trailhead on C Street to the Madras Bike and Skate Park on H Street.

According to Sara Puddy, assistant to the city administrator, work on the pavement, which was laid last fall, is not yet done. “They’re going to go back and put a sealant on it to provide better traction in the winter months,” she said.

The city will also finish work on reseeding the area around the viewpoint, and installation of lighting before the formal dedication.

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