Advocacy Ad Hoc Committee - Street Tree Preservation
Chair, Currently Open
Large canopy-forming street trees are an immensely important part of Spokane's historic neighborhoods. Indeed they are a highlight and important natural infrastructure of this beautiful city.
Large Street Trees
Big Win for Large Street Tree Preservation and Replacement
Adoption of these guidelines is a direct result of grassroot, public involvement in this issue. Also see the Street Tree Briefing Paper
. SPA would specifically like to recognize Julie Neff, Leroy Eadie and Angel Spell for their leadership in supporting citizen concerns/input and crafting and pushing forward to completion these new guidelines!
Before adoption of these guidelines, large-canopy street trees could only be planted in the largest of Spokane's parking strip areas.
These largest parking strips made up ONLY 11% of all available parking strips in Spokane.
This policy was creating a continual decrease in large-canopy tree renewal in Spokane's many historic districts.
The new "Guidelines for Infilling Street Trees in Existing Narrow Planting Strips in Spokane’s Residential Areas" is a key advancement in local historic preservation efforts to maintain the large-canopy street trees that Spokane's historic neighborhoods enjoy today and want to enjoy in the future!
Heritage Tree Program
THREE SPOKANE TREES
THE FIRST TO BE RECOGNIZED BY
HERITAGE TREE PROGRAM
An American elm, an apricot tree, and a horse chestnut in Edwidge Woldson Park were the first to receive the new heritage tree status introduced by the city, placing them on a register designed to protect historic trees in Spokane. Edwidge Woldson Park has recently added two more trees to the Heritage Tree Program list.
The purpose of the Heritage Tree Program is to protect significant trees in the community. Heritage trees are particularly valuable because of the characteristics that set them apart from other similar trees. These might include:
1. Historical significance to a person, place, or event.
2. Significant size in height, caliper, or canopy spread for its age and species.
3. Special aesthetic qualities for its species.
4. Visible to the public, along major roads, or public places.
5. Rare horticulture value.
Individuals or groups can nominate trees on any public or private property within the city of Spokane for Heritage Status designation. The Urban Forest Tree Committee of the Spokane Park Board will review nominations monthly.
The Heritage Trees Program emphasizes that trees are key to Spokane’s character and sense of place. Championing heritage tree preservation and the Urban Forestry Program is another way to boost awareness of Spokane’s historic urban landscapes.
Background on Street Tree Issue
In the early 1900s Spokane thoughtfully planted large-canopy trees along the streets of our many great neighborhoods. In many instances these plantings were part of a deliberate, comprehensive, streetscape plan for this city. (See www.olmsted.org) SPA believes that these large, old trees are now worthy of special attention.
Refer to SPA Update September 2007 for article on the importance of canopy-forming street trees.
Therefore, SPA created an ad hoc street tree committee to explore ways to preserve and replace in-kind our grand canopy-forming street trees. SPA asks for your increased attention and direct support in our three tightly-focused street tree preservation initiatives:
- Increased emphasis for preservation of Spokane's large-canopied street trees
- Like-tree replacement (not small-tree, ornamental tree replacement) to maintain Spokane's existing historic neighborhood streetscapes. To replace large-canopy trees with smaller trees because of the existing planting strip size restrictions, negatively alters the look of Spokane's great neighborhoods. SPA believes this as a significant quality of life issue for neighborhood streetscape integrity.
- Advocacy for adequate Urban Forest Program funding to maintain these important trees
SPA has recently published two ads in local newspapers to inform Spokane residents about the importance of and threat to our large canopy street trees:
Spokesman Review/Inlander (October 2008)
Inlander (January 2009)
SPA also contracted for a survey asking Spokanites how they felt about their large street trees. Here are the survey results and our follow on letter sent to Mayor Verner.
Through tree preservation education, volunteerism, and funding, SPA stands ready to help the City of Spokane achieve these important large-canopy street tree preservation initiatives.
The following informational sites are great in explaining the benefits of large-canopy street trees:
"The Large Tree Argument"
"How to Fit Large Trees into Landscapes"
"What People, and Trees, Think About Utility Tree Pruning"
Additionally, the following information is useful (.pdf files):
Large Trees and Communities
Trees and Safety
Project for Public Spaces - Allan B. Jacobs
Trees are Not the Root of Sidewalk Problems
Which Comes First, the Root or the Crack