Grants Pass Urban Forestry
The City has six Heritage Trees! A Heritage Tree webpage with information is coming soon.
The Grants Pass Tree Inventory Project wrapped up its 2021 season with over 800 public trees documented by trained volunteers. There are thousands of public trees in our community, which means the project will continue in 2022. The intent is to better understand the condition of our urban forest, its management needs, and the benefits this infrastructure provides. Using the collected tree data and U.S. Forest Service statistics, we know that the 814 trees surveyed provide an estimated $60,101 worth of benefits, including stormwater mitigation, energy savings, air quality improvements, carbon sequestration, and increases in property values. With thousands of trees yet to inventory, imagine the overall benefits our urban forest provides the community! Hopefully we will find out by the end of 2022. If you wish to get involved in the inventory project, please contact the urban forester.
Reporting Tree Issues
Many tree issues in town are reported by concerned citizens.
If you see a potentially hazardous tree along our streets, or perhaps are concerned about tree work occurring in the right-of-way, please reach out to the City by using the Public Works Comment Form which you can submit online.
If you have concerns about a tree in one of the City parks, use the
Parks and Recreation Services Comment Form which you can submit online.
Or you can also call the City Urban Forester at 541-450-6162 or email email@example.com.
Tree Canopy Program
Applications are live for the 2021 Tree Canopy Program! Trees will be planted in December. Applications must be submitted with payment by October 15, 2021. Check out the Tree Planting Programs webpage for more information and a link to the application.
Tree Inventory 2020/2021
The City has begun its very first inventory of all public and semi-public trees within our parks and along our rights-of-way (e.g. street trees). This is an ambitious program to map and document the urban forest of Grants Pass. Volunteers have partnered with the City to map trees and collect data. You may encounter a volunteer, who will be wearing a yellow vest and entering data into a smartphone or clipboard. Our goal is to complete the inventory by the end of Spring 2021.
We hope to accomplish the following from our tree inventory: (1) Quantify the known benefits of our urban forest; (2) Identify the health of our forest; (3) Quantify the diversity of our forest; (4) Identify maintenance needs; (5) Identify potential planting locations; (6) Assess infrastructure and tree conflicts; and (7) Engage residents with their environment and community.
In order to properly manage the urban forest asset, we need to know the status of our forest and location of its trees. Imagine not knowing where the City’s sewer lines, stops signs, or streetlights are located!
If you would like to volunteer, please reach out to the City Urban Forester, Tony Mecum. (firstname.lastname@example.org). Volunteers will receive one-on-one training and necessary tools and resources. As a volunteer of the very first inventory, you will make a lasting impression on the urban forest and its management for decades (if not centuries) to come. A great volunteer does not need tree expertise. A desire to improve Grants Pass and some interest in trees is all you need.
(Please note that the inventory will not involve private trees.)
The City’s goal is to restore, establish, and maintain a healthy urban forest with age and species diversity that keeps pace with urban growth, recognizing the numerous functions and benefits a healthy urban forest provides.
What is an “Urban Forest”?
The US Forest Service answers this question by stating: “Over 130 million acres of America’s forests are located right in our cities and towns. Urban forests come in many different shapes and sizes. They include urban parks, street trees, landscaped boulevards, gardens, river and coastal promenades, greenways, river corridors, wetlands, nature preserves, shelter belts of trees, and working trees at former industrial sites. Urban forests, through planned connections of green spaces, form the green infrastructure on which communities depend. Green infrastructure works at multiple scales from the neighborhood to the metro area to the regional landscape.” (https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/urban-forests)
Did you know that as of 2010, 81% of Americans live in urban areas?
Our urban forest does more than just make our city beautiful, it provides the following benefits:
- Air and water pollution reduction
- Increased retail and residential property values
- Energy use reduction
- Water conservation
- Erosion prevention and control
- Wildlife habitat
- Carbon sequestration
- Mitigation of urban heat sink
- Noise suppression
- Storm water management and retention
- Traffic calming
- Physical and mental health enhancements
What Can You Do to Help?
In December of 2019, the City hired its first Urban Forester, who is tasked with upholding the goals of the forestry plan and the City’s urban forestry goal. The Urban Forester is a phone call or email away when it comes to anything tree related in our parks or public right-of-ways (this is typically the area between the curb and the sidewalk along our streets). If you have any of the following interests or concerns, please contact our Urban Forester.
- Hazardous Trees – do you suspect a tree to be hazardous? Contact the City’s Urban Forester for an inspection. It is the responsibility of the landowner to maintain the trees in the public right-of-way. The City has limited funds available to help assist with the cost of tree removals and replacements for hazardous trees. Check out the “50/50 Program” for more information.
- New Tree Plantings – would you like a new front yard or public right-of-way tree? The City has a great “Tree Canopy Program,” which provides a new tree for you for only $50! Apply early because we only have funds for the first 50 applicants.
- Memorial Trees – the City wishes to assist you in the honoring and memorialization of loved ones. If you have a person you wish to honor, or would like to memorialize a late relative, friend, or loved one, the City provides a “Memorial Tree Program” for only $100. This provides the funding of a new tree planting in the park of your choice. See below for more information
- Arbor Day – Grants Pass is a Tree City USA and has been for 32 years! We’ve accomplished this through the activism of city residents, elected officials, and staff. To commemorate our continued passion for our urban forest, the City of Grants Pass celebrates Arbor day on the first Monday of the first full week in April. Stay tuned to the City’s various social media accounts and publications for annual invitations. All are welcome!
- Urban Tree Advisory Committee – do you want to have an active voice in the direction of our urban forest’s management? Come to our Urban Tree Advisory Committee meetings and voice your opinion. The committee has open spots on occasion and we highly recommend interested citizens to join.
- New and Exciting Programs – in the months and years to come, expect more opportunities to get involved with the urban forest of Grants Pass. Down the pike, we anticipate some volunteering events to inventory the public trees along our right-of-ways. More information to come!
Tree Standards and Requirements
The City of Grants Pass has rules and requirements regarding trees within the city limits. These are contained in Article 23 of the Grants Pass Development Code (PDF).
For building and construction requirements and rules, as well as information for homeowners wanting to plant or remove trees, check out these pages:
Tree Planting Programs
City of Grants Pass Committees and Tree Plans
- Significant Tree Registry - a list of local trees of significance.
- Oregon Tree City of the Year 2020 – Grants Pass was awarded the honor of top tree city in Oregon by the Oregon Community Trees.
- Tree City USA - 32 years running, Grants Pass has achieved this National Arbor Day Foundation designation.
- Tree City USA Growth Award – Grants Pass received its 9th Growth Award in 2020 for its continued expansion of tree protections, plantings, and management.
- Arbor Day Foundation - Tree City USA
- Trees are Good - Planting a Tree (PDF)
- Oregon State University Extension Office - a resource for residents who have private property related questions on agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and beyond.