Arbor Day Foundation Names Franklin Lakes a Tree City USA


Franklin Lakes was named a 2023 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. 

Franklin Lakes achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: 

  • forming a tree board or department – the Borough’s Shade Tree Commission;
  • creating a tree-care ordinance;
  • having an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita; and
  • an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

“Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens in communities like [City] make smart investments in urban forests,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social and environmental benefits.” 

Trees are assets to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits. 

Michael Tulp, Chairman of the Shade Tree Commission, explained what the Tree City USA award means to the Borough, “This year we again celebrate the Borough’s qualification for the prestigious Tree City USA award. The Shade Tree Commission is dedicated to the preservation of the Borough’s precious tree inventory. Trees play an enormous role in the well-being of our local environment, and, in fact, they also have a positive economic impact on our community. This year marks the 16th consecutive year that our Borough has qualified for the award. Of note is that Franklin Lakes is only one of 154 municipalities (out of a total of 565 municipalities) in New Jersey that has been awarded this designation. The achievement has been made through the dedication of our volunteer Shade Tree Commissioners: Marion Mahn, Donna Robinson, Mary McBride and Michael Kolenut. The Shade Tree Commission also would like to acknowledge the enthusiastic support from Mayor Charles Kahwaty as well as the Borough Council. In 2023, the Mayor and Council approved a new tree ordinance which aims at conserving the Borough’s tree inventory for future generations of residents. I remind Borough residents that our new revised ordinance provides stricter rules and property owners are advised to apply for approval for a tree cutting permit before removing any trees larger than seven inches in diameter. The ordinance does require tree replacement for any live tree removed. The Borough is also enforcing a much strong penalty schedule for violations. The Shade Tree Commission appreciates the support of our residents, and we welcome members of the community interested in volunteering along with us.”

More information on the program is available at

ABOUT THE ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information is available at