Forestry Division

Swampscott is dedicated to the protection, planting, and continued care of Swampscott’s trees. Trees enrich our Town in many ways: (1) they contribute to the health & well-being of the Town’s residents and wildlife; (2) they combat climate change by producing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide; (3) they provide cleaner air and shade; (4) they enhance the Town’s beauty and research has shown that mature trees increase property values.

street tree

Swampscott Tree Warden:

Swampscott has a certified Tree Warden, operating under and with the assistance of the Department of Public Works.

Tree Committee:

The Tree Committee assists the Tree Warden and DPW in developing rules, regulations, tree inventory, manuals and other data related to trees. This group of volunteers also finds grants and other assistance for the preservation, planting and maintenance of trees. Click here to find out more about the Tree Committee.

Massachusetts Public Shade Tree Act (Massachusetts General Law Chapter 87)

In Massachusetts, there has been a long history of public shade tree protection. Over 100 years ago, the Commonwealth adopted a statute for the protection of public shade trees (Massachusetts General Law Chapter 87, known as the "Public Shade Tree Act," 1899).  Chapter 87 outlines the local Tree Warden’s authority over public shade tree care, maintenance, trimming and removal.  The full text of Chapter 87 can be accessed at Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 87  with additional requirements concerning the removal of trees on Scenic Roads. 

Key elements of Chapter 87:

  • All trees within the public way are defined as public shade trees.
  • The Tree Warden is responsible for the care, control, protection and maintenance of all public shade trees, except those within a state highway, and shall enforce all the provisions of law for the preservation of such trees.
  • No other person may plant, trim, cut or remove a public shade tree without permission of the Tree Warden.
  • No person, including the Tree Warden, may cut, trim or remove any tree, greater than one and one half inches in diameter, without a public hearing.

Swampscott Trees Bylaw (Article XXVI of the General Bylaws)

Many Massachusetts towns, with the encouragement of the State Dept. of Conservation and Recreation, have passed more detailed tree bylaws.  The Swampscott Trees Bylaw was adopted at the Fall 2020 Town Meeting.  Swampscott’s Bylaw is consistent with the requirements of Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 87 (which regulates trees on public rights of way), but the Bylaw extends protection to trees on town-owned property. The Trees Bylaw also addresses public tree management. Full text of Tree Bylaw XXVI.

Tree City USA

Swampscott is also proud to be one of the many communities in Massachusetts that has been awarded Tree City USA status. Swampscott participates in Arbor Day celebrations every year at the end of April. Greening up cities and towns across America, the Tree City USA program provides a framework for communities to manage and expand their public trees. Learn more at ArborDay.org

Arbor Day Planting

 


Questions on a Town Tree? Call the office for more information.

Click here for more Information and FAQs.

Staff Contacts

Name Title
Gino A. Cresta Jr. Director of Public Works
Aleena Alsaraby Deputy Tree Warden
Gene Gardiner Tree Warden