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Ronni Hannaman: Keep the tradition alive and plant a tree on Arbor Day

The Nevada Capitol is surrounded by blooming plums in April 2024.

The Nevada Capitol is surrounded by blooming plums in April 2024.
Ronni Hannaman

The wise early settlers of Carson City ensured that future residents would enjoy the beauty and endless benefits that come from planting trees. What was then just an arid desert landscape of sagebrush is today a celebration of the hardiness of the trees and of the early settlers.

A stroll through historic downtown Carson or through the Lone Mountain Cemetery provides physical evidence of the longevity of trees planted long ago that still shade the historic homes and gravestones. In the cemetery, the oldest gravestones can be found under the canopy of trees.

As we celebrate Arbor Day on April 26, we pay tribute to Sam Davis, editor of the Nevada Appeal in 1887, for asking wealthy San Francisco resident Adolph Sutro to donate trees for the downtown area.

Davis organized the planting of 1,000 trees donated by Sutro on Arbor Day, April 13, 1887. Those first 1,000 trees were matched by an equal number donated by the residents of Carson City. And another 1,000 trees were donated by the State of Nevada through Governor Charles Stevenson, as reported in the Territorial Enterprise and Virginia City News on Friday, August 12, 1955.

By the end of 1887, the roots of an estimated 10,000 trees were firmly planted in Carson City’s soil, earning us the reputation of the “City of Trees.” It takes an average of 20 to 30 years for a tree to reach maturity. Although many trees have a lifespan of more than 100 years, few of those early trees could still be alive today.

Thirty years ago, in 1994, Carson City was designated a Tree City USA by the Nevada Division of Forestry under the Nevada Tree City USA Program. Today, there are over 4,200 trees on the capital’s grounds alone, of which 890 are around the capital’s building.

When the city redesigned the roads in the center in 2016, young trees were planted to provide future residents with a beautiful green canopy. This Arbor Day, as we look around our beautiful city and its outlying areas, we salute the past, present and future of residents in keeping Carson City green and beautiful. After all, what could be more beautiful than the blossoms on the blooming pear or plum trees that announce the arrival of spring?

German priest and theologian Martin Luther is quoted as saying: “For in the true nature of things, if we think about it, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” Let’s all plant a beautiful piece of gold or silver this spring. We will all be richer for it.