About

+ What does the Tuxedo Park Tree Advisory Board (TPTAB) do?

The TPTAB was established by law in January 2016 by the Village of Tuxedo Park Board of Trustees under the Charter of Tree City USA.

Trees are vital to the environmental and economic prosperity of Tuxedo Park.

To protect and enhance this invaluable asset, our mission is to promote the benefits of a healthy forest with a sustainable tree population by advocating responsible policies and by implementing tree conservation, education and planting programs.

The TPTAB assumes a leadership role but our work relies on community collaboration: each resident of Tuxedo Park is a partner in the wise oversight of our forest infrastructure. We understand the need to balance aesthetics with environmental requirements, but we also recognize what we individually do with trees on our private properties impacts the well-being of the entire community. We are all guardians of this critical resource for the benefit of current and future generations.

The TPTAB is here to advise property owners on all matters concerning trees and related resources. We welcome any feedback and suggestions.

+ Why are trees important?

Trees play a significant role in diminishing erosion and storm water runoff of pollutants and sediments and keep clean our drinking water in the Tuxedo Lake and Wee Wah Ponds. If not for trees, we would have needed taxpayers’ money to install costly man-made infrastructure and procedures. These bodies of water are part of the Ramapo River watershed that drains into the Ramapo River, which is the sole source of water to an aquifer that provides drinking water to millions in New York and New Jersey.

Trees sustain our clean air.

Trees contribute to the rustic character of our landscape and nurture a wildlife habitat rich in biodiversity. Our public and private woodlands provide the underpinning of our historical provenance (our listing on the National Register of Historic Places) and of our membership of Tree City USA.

According to the City of Portland, Oregon, a municipality that has taken an exemplary, progressive role in recognizing the value of trees:

“One large residential tree is estimated to produce $4,000 of total economic benefits over its first fifty years, and to increase sale values 6—9%.”

“The urban forest surrounds us and contributes to the quality of our daily lives. It provides environmental, psychological and economic benefits ranging from improved air and water quality to savings from decreased heating and cooling costs to aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods and increased resale values. It is vital to our efforts to restore fish and wildlife habitat and it provides countless opportunities for recreation and refreshment.

Without care and attention, a healthy urban forest cannot exist. The decisions we make now and the consequences of our actions determine how well or poorly the urban forest will function in ten, twenty and fifty years.”

+ History of trees in Tuxedo Park

In 1886, tobacco millionaire Pierre Lorillard IV founded Tuxedo Park. His vision was to create a hunting resort to serve New York’s social elite during the “autumn season”, but the place was transformed in the following decades into an exclusive
suburb with year-round residents.

Postcards published in the first years of the Park showed a landscape with few trees. But Lorillard did not take out trees in order to build Tuxedo Park. Rather, the barren terrain was the result of Lorillard’s father having logged the area for timber.

The historic properties of Tuxedo Park were mostly built at the turn of the 20th century. This was an era when influential landscape architects led by Frederick Law Olmsted and his sons were reacting to the abuse of the landscape by relentless industrialization. They created designs that respected the local scenery and conserved natural resources, involving extensive restoration of forests and planting of native trees and shrubs.

When the early residents of Tuxedo Park built their houses, they embraced Olmsted’s vision. They planted thousands of trees, both native and specimen, as evidenced by the landscape plans and correspondences between property owners and their architects. Nature also replanted itself. This explains why postcards from 1910s onwards showed a verdant, forested landscape.

In 1980, when Tuxedo Park was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places, what the registrar saw - and appreciated - was the beauty of period houses situated in a forested environment. In other words, the basis of our historic listing today rests on trees as much as on houses.

+ Runoff and erosion on waterfront properties: why should I care?

How we manage our waterfront properties has a direct impact on lake water quality. This issue is particularly critical for Tuxedo Park because our lakes are our reservoirs. Learn More

+ Save our reservoirs! What can we do to preserve water quality?

The quality of our drinking water, which we source from the Tuxedo Lake (and secondarily from the Wee Wah Lake), is directly impacted by human activities on the shoreline and on the surrounding hills.

In undisturbed landscapes (think most reservoirs), nature purifies water flowing into the lakes through a complex system of roots, soil and rocks. When we clear land to build houses, take out trees, shrubs and undergrowth to improve our views, use fertilizers and pesticides, or put in lawns that run directly into the water uninterrupted by any vegetation, we can impair this natural purification process.

+ What is storm water runoff, and why do we need to reduce it?

+ Why are meadow plantings important?

Meadow plantings require little to no maintenance, and they are beneficial in many ways. They provide food for insects and birds. They also help to conserve water and reduce the negative impacts of excessive storm water.

Most of the native plant species found in a meadow are very deep rooted, with roots that penetrate underground to depths up to three times their height! These extensive root networks yield two important benefits to your property. First, they have a significant carrying capacity to hold water on a site. Second, they hold soil in place and help prevent soil erosion.

Click here for a fascinating story (and amazing photographs) from National Geographic on the roots system of meadow plants.

+ Learn what WE can do to preserve our water quality.

+ Tuxedo Park Tree Advisory Board members

Chiu Yin Hempel, Chair

Christopher Gow, Member

Jack Kilgore, Member

Dena Steele, Member

Jeff Voss, DPW

Mary Jo Guinchard, Trustee Liaison

Fred Rella, Grant Writer, Adviser