Dr. Matt Ritter will lead two of our popular Tree Walks on Saturday, July 9 at 10:00 AM & 1:00 PM. The walks are approximately 1.5 hours and covers a few blocks within downtown Carmel.

To RSVP, email Please send the names of attendees and your first and second time preference. Free to members, $20 for non-members. To become a member, click here. Reserve early for this popular event as space is limited!

A fascinating and entertaining speaker, Dr. Ritter is the author of A Californian's Guide to the Trees among Us. Dr. Ritter is a botany professor in the Biology Department at Cal Poly, SLO, Director of the Cal Poly Plant Conservatory, Chair of the City of San Luis Obispo Tree Committee, and editor-in-chief of California Botanical Society’s Madroño. He holds a Ph.D. in plant developmental biology from UC San Diego.

The BIG Trees Among Us

The author of A Californian's Guide to the Trees among Us, Dr. Matt Ritter will be speaking on The BIG Trees Among Us on Wednesday, June 8 at 7 PM at Sunset Center's Carpenter Hall. A witty and engaging speaker, Dr. Ritter is a botany professor in the Biology Department at Cal Poly and leader of our popular Tree Walks.



"The urbanized forest is the city's largest, most visible, and most important natural resource."Carmel-by-the-Sea's Forest Management Plan (FMP)

The trees that collectively form our forest make Carmel a better place to live - both in terms of aesthetics and quality of life. Trees frame our views, are home to a variety of birds and animals, filter our air, and shelter us from the winds. Studies show that people are happier and healthier in a green environment. Our urban forest is the very thing that makes our village unique and welcoming to residents and visitors alike.

Each tree is unique and should be protected as if the entire forest depended on it, because it does. When permits are granted for development of homes, every tree on that property must be preserved or replaced. In 2014, 114 permits were granted to remove trees on private property, but only 49 were required to be replaced. There has also been no follow up to ensure those trees have been planted and are healthy.

Loss of tree canopy of Monte Verde between 7th & 8th.

Loss of tree canopy of Monte Verde between 7th & 8th.

The City Forester estimated over 170 public trees were lost in 2015, in addition to a 7-year back log. In 2014, 142 trees were removed with only 39 replaced. Simply put, Carmel's trees are in trouble. Development, disease, drought are the main culprits, but neglect, lack of resources for management and code enforcement are also to blame. Climate change will also have an impact, with higher temperatures affecting the moisture rich fog that our forest depends on.

Walk down any Carmel-by-the-Sea street and you will witness trees that are struggling to survive or are no longer there.  Whole blocks that were once graced by towering pines and cypress are now just sparsely dotted with trees. Fortunately, there is now enthusiasm from the City Council to fully implement and fund the FMP. Will they move ahead and replenish and care for the forest in the very near future? It is getting late. Our forest is losing and we cannot afford to wait.

Written by Robert Shuler

Tree Walks 2015

Our annual Tree Walk was a success! Led by Dr. Peter Shaw, Horitculture Program Chair & Arboriculture Instructor at Cabrillo College, participants learned about 30 different tree species in downtown Carmel. For more photos, visit our Facebook page.

In Memory of Clayton Anderson

Clayton and his good friend, Charles Schultz. Photo from   Remembering a Good Friend  , Charles M. Schultz Museum.

Clayton and his good friend, Charles Schultz. Photo from Remembering a Good Friend, Charles M. Schultz Museum.

Our beloved founder, Clayton Anderson, passed peacefully on June 5, 2015. A 30-year resident, Clayton was known in Carmel for his civic enthusiasm and passion for the environment. His legacy endures through the community institutions he founded and nurtured—Friends of Carmel Forest, the Carmel Beach Cleanup, CRA Dines Out, Fiesta in the Forest and the annual Citizen of the Year Celebration.

A founding member of the Carmel Residents Association, he served as president and was named Citizen of the Year in 1993.

"Clayton has enlivened and enlightened every aspect of our community life,
from political campaigns to environmental causes, from fundraising to publications,
from public service to social activities."

- JS Holliday, Author

Clayton's lifelong friendships brought joy to him as well as to his community. The late cartoonist Charles Schulz came to Carmel at Clayton's invitation to describe how he created his magic and to support the Carmel Public Library Foundation. Earlier, again as a favor to Clayton, the beloved Burl Ives came to sing to a capacity audience for Carmel's forest.

Born in Tacoma, Washington in 1923, Anderson earned bachelor and postgraduate degrees at the University of Puget Sound, where he was student body president, and the University of Oregon. He taught and lectured at those institutions as well as Oregon State College, University of Washington and Washington State. In the summertime, he was a guide and chief horse wrangler in Mount Rainier National Park. World War II inevitably found him volunteering for the famed 10th Mountain Division, training high in the Rockies of Colorado. Combat followed against German troops in Italy's mountains. Service as Oregon's director of outdoor recreation was followed as director of Washington State Parks. Then he went to Washington, D.C. with the Department of the Interior, where he received the Superior Service Award.

Steve Brooks Named CRA Citizen of the Year

We are thrilled to announce that Steve Brooks was honored as Citizen of the Year by the Carmel Resident's Association.

In addition to a beautiful original painting of a Great White Oak by Carmel Art Association by artist Fred Carvell, Steve was presented with the following honors:

  • United States Congress Certificate of Special Recognition from Congressman Sam Farr
  • California State Senate and Assembly Certificate of Recognition handed to Steve personally by Senator Bill Monning and Assemblymember Mark Stone
  • County of Monterey Certificate of Recognition: “In recognition of your support and dedication to the village of Carmel-by-the-Sea and for your advocacy towards the preservation of it’s urban forest” delivered by Supervisor Dave Potter
  • Heartfelt addresses by City Administrator Doug Schmitz and Mayor Jason Burnett