John Brown's Fort
Corporation of Harpers Ferry

Tree Commission

Come celebrate Arbor Day 2024!

Arbor Day 2024

Tree Facts

Tree leavesWhat can a tree do for you? A lot. Check out all the ways—sometimes unexpected—that trees positively affect us, our communities, and our world here.

How Trees Can Retain Stormwater Runoff

Stormwater runoffTrees in our communities provide many services beyond the inherent beauty they lend to streets and properties. One of the most overlooked and underappreciated is their ability to reduce the volume of water rushing through gutters and pipes following a storm. This means less investment in expensive infrastructure and – importantly – cleaner water when the runoff reaches rivers and lakes. Read more at the Arbor Day blog.

Yellow Buckeye: A Rugged Beauty

Yellow buckeyeIn 1784 while traveling near the Cheat River — in what is now West Virginia — sharp-eyed George Washington spotted a yellow buckeye with flowers that were purple instead of yellow. He planted seeds of that tree at Mount Vernon. Read more about the yellow buckeye, courtesy of the Arbor Day Foundation.

Poison hemlock, a growing problem

Poison hemlockPoison hemlock is an extremely toxic, fast-growing, and highly-invasive biennial plant which resembles Queen Anne's Lace. It has become naturalized across North America and has been positively identified in Harpers Ferry. All parts of the plant are toxic, with the potential to produce fatal neuromuscular dysfunction due to failure of the respiratory muscles.

For photos and more information on identification, specific toxicity, and control methods of poison hemlock, please refer to the following online resources:

About those cages...

Caged treeIf you've wondered why there are cages on all the new street trees, it's so the deer won't rub off the bark.

Please don't remove the cages. The Tree Commission will remove them when the trunks are too wide for deer to rub against.


Trees and Shrubs - Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Maryland Heights TrailSince 70% of the park is forested, it is no surprise that a wide variety of tree and shrub species occur here.  Read more here.

(At left: Common vegetation found along the Maryland Heights hiking trail. NPS photo.)

Hybrid Hazel Nut Project

HazelnutsHazelnuts hold great promise for increasing the world’s sustainable food, feed, and energy supply. That’s why both researchers and members around the United States are working together to expand the potential of this hybrid crop. Learn more.


The objectives and authority of the Tree Commission are detailed in Codified Ordinance 1104, officially titled the Harpers Ferry Tree Conservation Ordinance. The Commission is responsible for the enforcement of the Ordinance, the provisions of which are enacted to:

The Harpers Ferry Tree Commission officially consists of eight members: five voting members, appointed by the Town Council; the Town's Maintenance Supervisor; one representative from the West Virginia Division of Forestry; and one representative from Potomac Edison (successor to the former Allegheny Power). Of the five voting members, one must also be a member of the Planning Commission. The four regular members are each appointed for two-year terms. In addition, the Mayor of the Corporation of Harpers Ferry is considered an agent of the Commission.

Through efforts of the Tree Commission, Harpers Ferry was first designated a Tree City USA community by the National Arbor Day Foundation in 2008. As part of the requirements to be recognized as such, a resolution approved by the Town Council the same year designated the fourth Friday of every April as Arbor Day in the Corporation of Harpers Ferry, although since 2009 each Arbor Day ceremony has been held on the fourth Saturday instead of Friday.

Meetings of the Tree Commission are held the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Room at Harpers Ferry Town Hall.

Tree Commission Members

SEAT 1: Christy Huddle, Chair (term ending 31 Dec 2027)
SEAT 2: Robert Nelson, Vice Chair (term ending 31 Dec 2025)
SEAT 3: Debbi Thomas, Secretary (term ending 31 Dec 2025)
SEAT 4: vacant (term ending 31 Dec 2025)
SEAT 5: Paul Thomas, Planning Commission representative

Larry Waters, Town Maintenance Specialist (non-voting)
Samuel Adams, WV Division of Foresty representative (non-voting)
(vacant), Potomac Edison representative (non-voting)

“The trees are born, they develop their leaves and fruits, they grow and die. I can't ever understand why a tree is a 'what' and not a 'who'.”  – Sophia Newtown.

Harpers Ferry Tree Conservation Ordinance
10 June 2013

2021 Harpers Ferry Arbor Day Proclamation

Harpers Ferry Tree Plan and Standards

Harpers Ferry tree inventory data
Updated 29 Apr 2021

Public Meeting Policy and Procedures

Public Hearing Policy and Procedures

Official Logo

Corporation of

1000 W Washington St
PO Box 217
Harpers Ferry WV 25425

Telephone: 304-535-2206


Monday to Thursday
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Closed to the public on Fridays

FOIA Requests


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Official Forms and Applications


(Agendas, minutes, meeting documents, and audiovisual recordings – 2020 to present)


(2008 through 2019)


English Ivy

Tree Topping

Helping Trees Recover From Ice Storms

BMP for Tree Protection During Construction

Landmark Trees Brochure

Landmark Tree Nomination

Jefferson County Tree Canopy Report

Tree City USA community since 2008


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