A good place to start

Hiring an urban forest manager is the first step toward catching up on years of neglecting our city’s trees

The city of Chico this week announced the hiring of an urban forest manager. It’s the first time that post has been filled in four years, and it’s long overdue. With a skeleton tree crew—just three people!—this so-called City of Trees has all but forgotten its canopy, one of the features that makes Chico such a desirable place to live in the first place.

In a few weeks, when Richard Bamlet steps into his new role as urban forest manager, he’ll have quite a job to do. The existing tree crew has been chipping away at a backlogged list of calls—some 800 to 1,200 of them, in fact. So, while adding Bamlet to the payroll is a step in the right direction for the city, it can’t stop there.

Our urban forest needs some serious TLC and Bamlet and his crew will need support to provide that going forward. Bamlet already has said he plans to reach out to Chico Tree Advocates, which has stepped in to speak up for our canopy during these past few years. The city will need to step up as well. When budget discussions come around again, it’s imperative that additional funding is provided to maintain our urban forest and make up for years of neglect. We owe that much to future generations.