Grants Pass Urban Forestry
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.
- Tree City USA - 31 years running, Grants Pass has achieved this National Arbor Day Foundation designation.
- Arbor Day Foundation - Tree City USA
- International Society of Arboriculture Planting Guide (PDF)
- Oregon State University Extension Office - a resource for residents who have private property related questions on agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and beyond.