Ozark Gateway Supports Tree City USA Concept

Tourism Group Encourages Participation, Congratulates Batesville

The Tree City program, created and supported by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and national League of Cities, recognizes cities that have well-developed plans for tree planting, maintenance, and public education.  To demonstrate its support for this important initiative, the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council is sending a “tree” Christmas card this year to the 260 people and businesses on its list.  The ornament-sized tree is handmade from recycled, biodegradable fibers and embedded with Austrian Pine seeds. When the “tree” is planted it will grow Pinus Nigra, better known as the Austrian Pine tree. Instructions for planting are included. The paper tree that contains the seeds recycles into the soil.

There are currently fifty-three cities in Arkansas that have sought and attained Tree City status, including Mountain View, Mammoth Spring and Melbourne in the Ozark Gateway region, and the council is hoping the cards will call attention to the importance of trees.  The council will also urge communities to get involved with the Tree City project at its next board meeting, as well as providing assistance with the application process.

Another city is moving close to full Tree City USA status; Batesville is in the final stage of completing the requirements.  The city has been working with Pete Rausch, a certified arborist, to assist with a number of tree-related projects, including extensive training of city employees and development of a city tree plan. Rausch has completed his consultancy and the city is in the process of submitting the final elements required for approval.

Ozark Gateway president Bob Pest calls the card idea “inspired.” “Cathy Drew, our executive director, heard me talk a lot about the meaning and importance of the Tree City USA distinction and how it would benefit the region, so she and Charlie Morris, a Gateway board member and past president, went out and found these very unique cards to show the organization’s support.  We believe that the Tree City USA designation can contribute to tourism if promoted effectively.”

The Ozark Gateway Tourist Council is a regional association that promotes and supports tourism in Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph, Sharp, and Stone counties.   For membership information and to learn more about Ozark Gateway visit www.ozarkgateway.com or call 1-800-264-0316.