Snoqualmie has a unique and amazing urban forest, with 1051 acres of forested open space intersected by 29 miles of trails. In addition, the city has a street and park tree population of 9306 trees representing 122 different species.
Here are some ways you can interact with this vibrant green resource:
Urban Forestry and Street Trees
One aspect of urban forestry is the installation and management of street trees in urban areas, an increasingly popular program across many U.S. cities.
As populations grow, higher densities in urban areas are inevitable. Urban forests are an important way to support surrounding ecosystems while minimizing the impact of expanding urban centers.
Snoqualmie’s Urban Forestry Program consists of more than 6,000 street trees lining the sidewalks of Snoqualmie Ridge, or about one tree for every two people. In Seattle, approximately 130,000 street trees are planted for a population of almost 600,000 residents, equal to about one tree for every four people.
Urban Forestry Program Benefits
- Urban forestry programs across the nation provide cities with many benefits:
- Reduced temperatures by shading streets and buildings
- Lower heating and cooling costs for surrounding buildings
- Reduced levels of pollutants released during high summer temperatures
- Absorption of “greenhouse” gases
- Release of chemicals that support ozone formation
- Wind barriers
- Less water runoff, reducing the changes of flooding
Trees not only help make our cities more attractive, they also provide shade and improve air quality. Increasing tree canopy cover in urban areas absorbs radiation from the sun, decreasing the maximum midday temperatures. By lowering air temperatures, trees can filter out existing harmful particulates, slow the formation of additional harmful chemicals, and in the warmer seasons, positively contribute to ozone formation.
A mature street tree can remove 50 pounds of harmful air pollutants in a single year, which means the street trees in Snoqualmie have the potential to remove 300,000 pounds of harmful particulates annually. In addition to these benefits, trees also help reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Research performed in 1993 [by whom?] estimates street trees account for between 350 and 750 million metric tons of carbon storage across the U.S.
Trees also positively impact soils and waters, which helps prevent local flooding. Soil management and stormwater detention are currently two of the leading concerns in the Pacific Northwest. Street trees are an effective means of soil management by significantly decreasing stormwater runoff and erosion. In the U.S., a modest planting of street trees can reduce water runoff by as much as 12% in urban areas, saving the city an average of $0.18 per tree per year. If this holds true for Snoqualmie, the trees in the city are freeing up about $1,000 in the annual budget.