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Friday, April 15, 2016

Fort Thomas Gets to Work Celebrating Earth Day

FTM file. 
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
— Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

by Michele Pam Wright

Fort Thomas residents have always been proud of their trees and the wonderful parks and trails in their city so on Friday, April 22nd and Saturday, the 23rd, they’ll be working hard to protect that heritage.

The Fort Thomas Arbor Day/Earth Day Celebration will be on Saturday, but the city is hoping to get a lot of volunteers on both Friday and Saturday to improve three parks in Fort Thomas: Highland Hills Park, Tower Park trails, and the Landmark Tree Trail.

Chris Rust, a Fort Thomas firefighter, said the Fire Fighters Local 1928 is a sponsor of the event as well as Duke Energy, Fort Thomas Tree Commission, and the Cincinnati Off Road Alliance (CORA). Rust said, “Duke Energy and their employees have been a great resource of volunteers, materials and funds.” Rust is heading up the work done on the trails in Tower Park and organizing a group of fire fighters to help.

Rust said, “We are concerned with erosion control, tree preservation and trail sustainability. The other big concern is keeping the trail from being too close to private property. We want people to enjoy the parks without intruding on the neighbors. No trees will be cut, but the invasive honeysuckle bushes which are choking out our native trees and wildflowers will be eliminated as much as possible.”

He went on to say, “This effort helps achieve the city's vision for the parks in a quicker time frame. After we’ve done the upgrades, the city will maintain them.”

The Landmark Tree Trail is not maintained by the city because the land is owned by Carmel Manor, a nursing home.
Bill Thomas, who died in June of 2014, planned and created the trail. It has been maintained by the Ft. Thomas Tree Commission and the local Boy Scouts. It is a difficult trail to maintain because of the steep slopes so help by the community is greatly needed. The work during the event on the Landmark Tree Trail is being organized by Joey Head from The Fort Thomas Tree Commission, and Kevin Barbian, a building inspector for the city.

FTM file. 
Barbian said, “The city was glad to hear there is grant from the Campbell County Conservancy that will help with the maintenance of the Landmark Tree Trail.”

The Tower Park trails have been getting a lot of upgrades and the city recently received a commitment from CORA to keep the trails sustainable. Rust said, “CORA has done a fantastic job designing the trails and working to keep them sustainable, but there are a lot of trails back there so more help is needed.”

On Friday, April 22nd, the work will only be at Highland Hills Park. Volunteers should show up anytime between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. The work will consist of general maintenance work such as debris removal and spreading gravel. There will also be improvements made to the Disc Golf Course, a fun and addictive sport for all ages using Frisbees.  Jeff Mohr will be heading up the cleanup at this park with Danny Fardo in charge of the improvements made to the Disc Golf Course. They plan to expand the trail so it links to the end of Ohio Avenue.

On Saturday, April 23rd,  all three parks, Highland Hills Park, Tower Park, and the Landmark Tree Trail, will need volunteers. The Landmark Tree Trail is behind Tower Park and the U.S. Army Reserve. The entrance is on the right side of the road. Volunteers should show up anytime between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Volunteers are asked to wear work gloves and if they have any yard equipment such as rakes, pruning shears, etc., please feel free to bring those as well and make sure they’re labeled with your name. Equipment will be available for those who don’t have any. Water will be available but please bring some also.

To register to volunteer at the event, please go to:

On Saturday, Mayor Eric Haas, will read a declaration from the city about Earth Day and remind the community that Fort Thomas has earned the proud title of a “Tree City  USA Community,” an important status that is given by the Arbor Day Foundation by meeting the core standards of sound urban forestry management, maintaining a tree commission, having a tree community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and celebrating Arbor Day.

The Fort Thomas Tree Commission has a great money-saving program to encourage residents to plant trees on their property. The trees are provided at a reduced cost and planted by the city. Residents are responsible for their maintenance. The link to the form if you’d like to participate in this program is:

Jeff Mohr, who will be heading up the Highland Hills Park event, is representing Duke Energy, a major sponsor of the event. Duke is providing money and heavy equipment and Mohr has organized a group of Duke Energy employees to work during the event. Mohr, a Fort Thomas resident, said, “Duke Energy is proud to be a part of this and looks for opportunities to help our communities.”

At noon on Saturday Ron Dill, the City Administrator Officer, will head a special dedication to Bill Thomas at the entrance of the Landmark Tree Trail. Thomas proposed, laid out, and constructed the Landmark Tree Trail, working long hours over several weeks. He was also co-founder of the Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy, started the Fort Thomas Garden Tour, was a founding member of the Fort Thomas Tree Commission, and wrote two books about Fort Thomas. A tree will be planted in his honor at the entrance and there will be a plaque with his name on it.

Bill Thomas. FTM file. 

Katie Mills, daughter of Bill Thomas, said, “We would celebrate Earth Day every year by planting trees. We would hike to random places and measure trees to estimate how old they were. Dad absolutely loved Fort Thomas and was a wealth of knowledge about the history of Fort Thomas, and the trees and plants in the area”

The city hopes there will be a lot of volunteers for this event so the parks will continue to improve and give our community a beautiful place to live.

Facebook Page:
To register for the event:

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