Tree City USA


The Tree City USA program, established by the Arbor Day Foundation, recognizes communities that effectively manage their urban forest and meet the four Tree City USA standards. Bald Head Island has been selected each year for this national recognition for effectively managing its urban trees as a valuable natural resource. Maintaining this national status shows that the Village and its citizens recognize that urban trees are closely linked to our quality of life and take pride in working together as stewards to preserve and enhance the community’s urban forest.

Bald Head Island as a Tree City USA

The Village of Bald Head Island has been recognized as a Tree City USA since 2013. Bald Head Island is one of over 70 communities in North Carolina designated as a Tree City USA.


The National Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service, recognizes municipalities from across North Carolina and the United States that meet the standards of the Tree City USA program.

Bald Head Island must meet these four standards:

  1. Have established a tree board or department that is legally responsible for caring for all trees on Village-owned property.  The Village Public Works Department, which has a certified arborist on staff, is legally responsible and the BHA’s Resource Conservation & Beautification Committee provides guidance to the Public Services Department and organizes Arbor Day Celebrations and other events like Operation Re-Forest-We Forest.
  2. Have a basic tree care ordinance that forms the foundation of the Village’s tree care program.  The Village’s tree ordinance can be found HERE (Sec. 10-188).
  3. Have a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita to invest in the long-term care of the tree canopy.
  4. Hold an annual Arbor Day Celebration and Proclamation (see information about past celebrations below).

These standards provide the basic structure for Bald Head Island’s Urban Forestry Program. In addition, the Village must demonstrate its ability to meet or exceed these standards each year by completing an annual report and reapplying for the Tree City USA designation.

Celebrating Arbor Day

Arbor Day is a day about celebrating trees and recognizing their many benefits to our lives. Typically, Arbor Day is celebrated by planting trees in the name of conservation by replenishing our forests and bringing trees to places in need. You can learn more about Arbor Day and its history on the Arbor Day Foundation website

This year, the Village adopted its Arbor Day proclamation at its March 15 regular Council meeting. National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April (April 26 this year). Our community celebrated Arbor Day by planting two trees at the Department of Public Safety and sharing information on social media, including a video on the BHA’s Operation Re-Forest-We Forest efforts over the last five years.

Many states observe Arbor Day on different dates based on the best tree planting times for their area. In North Carolina Arbor Day has been designated as the first Friday following March 15 (March 24 this year). Our community plans to share social media posts celebrating NC Arbor Day that are posted by the NC Forest ServiceNC Forestry AssociationNC Project Learning Tree, and NC Urban Forest Council on Facebook and X (formally Twitter).

Operation Re-Forest – We Forest

In response to the large tree loss on Bald Head Island from Hurricane Florence and the January 2018 ice storm, Bald Head Island Association’s (BHA) Architectural Review Committee (ARC) developed a simplified tree planting approval process which included the waiving of approval fees and streamlining logistics. In addition, the BHA arranged a way for property owners to purchase native trees at a discount. This effort was named Operation Re-Forest-We Forest.

The BHA held its 5th annual Operation Re-Forest in early January 2024. The annual event continues to benefit the island’s tree canopy and helps the BHA members purchase trees and plants at the lowest possible cost. Each year many volunteers, along with staff, make the event a success. The BHA’s Resource Conservation and Beautification (RCB) Committee spearheads the event. Volunteers help distribute the trees to property owners. Over the long term, volunteer Tree Keepers help check on newly planted trees and keep them watered during the first year to ensure they survive and thrive. The Village waives ICE fees and provides space for plant distribution. BHI Transportation, Inc. waives the barge fees.

If you are interested in volunteering for Operation Re-Forest-We Forest, reach out to RCB chair Barbara Giera (email).

2024 Operation Re-Forest-We Forest Statistics

  • 6 live oak trees were planted in BHA Common Area as Honor Trees.
  • 60 trees were planted by BHA or delivered to owners this included 22 live oaks, 20 yaupon hollies, and 18 wax myrtles.

Check out the BHA’s map of Operation Re-Forest – We Forest Trees Planted & Honor Trees HERE.


Past Arbor Day Celebrations