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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Arbor Day Tree Dedication to Landmark Tree Trail Creator, Bill Thomas

Members of the Thomas family gather around the tribute to the late Bill Thomas. 
By Chuck Keller

As part of the city wide Ignite the Parks and Arbor Day celebrations, the city paid tribute to Bill Thomas by planting a tree in his memory at the head of the Landmark Tree Trail. The group of volunteer workers were enthusiastic about removing invasive species as well as dedicating the trail to the man who established it.

Barb Manyet, member of the Tree Commission said, “We were discussing cleaning up the Landmark Tree trail. That’s about when Bill’s daughter, Katie, wrote a letter to the city asking if we could have a clean up day. So the Tree Commission organized volunteers, tools, and we did it!”

And that is how it started and the enthusiasm grew from there. In addition to their work, the Tree Commission distributed native tree saplings to plant in yards.

Katie Mills, Bill’s daughter, said, “I think this was wonderful. He is just smiling down. He hated honeysuckle but he loved this [Landkmark Tree] trail so today was pretty much the perfect combination. I just hope that this can continue every year. I remember him making this trail. Every night. I remember all of us (children) being on it. He loved it and the town.”

Mayor Eric Haas said, “This is an awesome day. There are a lot of people up here clearing the head of the trail. It really makes the whole trail stand out. And celebrating Bill is so perfect for today because he had so much to do with all of this - with the trail and the trees.I  am glad so many people could participate.” 
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Mayor Haas read an official proclamation recognizing the city’s participation in national Arbor Day. In his remarks he said,

“No one represented that vision and commitment any better than Bill Thomas. So today, in celebration of Earth Day and in conjunction with the Fort Thomas Tree Commission’s celebration of Arbor Day, we gather here to honor Bill….He had an equal passion in journalism snd was an accomplished writer….He loved reporting what was going on in the community and established outlets to share the news… He believed that there was always a message to shared and that it was, in large part, his responsibility to do so.  He used his platform to make his message clear and people heard it.” 

Bill Thomas began the arduous task to map out prominent trees and later created the Landmark Tree Trail. He secured easements, organized volunteers, and brought the tree tail to fruition.  Bill was also one of the founding members of the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy, publisher of Inside Fort Thomas (later called Inside), editor of Fort Thomas Living, and author of a few books about Fort Thomas.

Sidney Thomas, Bill’s wife, said, “This is such a perfect tribute to Bill, and one that will last an eternity...just like our love and memories that we have of him.”

The Landmark Tree Trail is located near the entrance to Carmel Manor and is home to some of the largest and oldest trees in the city.

Mayor Haas reads a proclamation. 

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