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New arboretum at historic Salt Lake City Cemetery highlights 80 varieties of trees

Unveiled Saturday, the arboretum honors the cemetery’s longest-serving sexton, Mark Smith.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Children play in the leaves under a European Beech as Salt Lake City announces the newly accredited Mark Smith Memorial Arboretum at Salt Lake City Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. From left, Henley DeHart, Nora Davis, Mazie Davis, and Emma Carbine.

Salt Lake City leaders unveiled a new arboretum Saturday morning at the city’s historic cemetery, dedicated to its longest-serving sexton, Mark Smith.

“To have it named in Sexton Mark Smith’s honor is fitting, as he was a valued public servant who loved the cemetery and its beautiful tree canopy,” Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a news release. Saturday was Smith’s birthday, it said. He died in 2019.

The arboretum — located in the southwest corner of the cemetery, near the main entrance — features 80 varieties of trees, ranging from Austrian pine to Zelkova, and each tree is marked with a small plaque at its base. Visitors can find a map online and at the sexton’s office.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Family and friends of Mark Smith, former sexton of Salt Lake City Cemetery, gather at his grave as Salt Lake City announces the newly accredited Mark Smith Memorial Arboretum at Salt Lake City Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.

“Over the last 170 years, generations of Salt Lake City residents have planted and cared for trees in hopes of cultivating a better quality of life. As a result of those efforts, a forest for people grew,” Salt Lake City Urban Forestry Director Tony Gliot said in the release.

Gliot and his team worked with Arbnet, an accrediting group, over the past year on the recognition, and the arboretum is the first formally accredited arboretum on city property, according to the release.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tony Gliot, director of the city's Urban Forestry Division, Julie Fratto-Smith, and Mayor Erin Mendenhall unveil a sign as Salt Lake City announces the newly accredited Mark Smith Memorial Arboretum at Salt Lake City Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tony Gliot, Urban Forest Program Manager, leads a tour under sequoia trees as Salt Lake City announces the newly accredited Mark Smith Memorial Arboretum at Salt Lake City Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.

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