Tree Pittsburgh at work on city's first Urban Forest Master Plan

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Although master plans in Pittsburgh guide transportation, historic preservation, and open space policy, the city has never had any such comprehensive plan addressing trees.  But that could change soon Tree Pittsburgh works to develop Pittsburgh’s first ever Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP). 

The organization has been leading this planning effort for over a year, and is now inviting the public to provide detailed input for creating a shared vision for "protecting, growing and maintaining the City's urban forest."

Danielle Crumrine, executive director of Tree Pittsburgh, says the intent is to have the plan codified and adopted by City Council.  She believes the UFMP could be a useful tool in the City’s PLANPGH effort.

“We've done a lot of research, so we understand the size and condition of our urban forest,” Crumrine says.  “This is all valuable data that could be used in any planning effort, including the City's OPENSPACE plan.”

But this information would not only be useful to City and County agencies. Tree Pittsburgh hopes city residents and private developers will benefit from the research as well.

According to Tree Pittsburgh’s research, private citizens own a majority of the Pittsburgh urban forest.  Crumrine says this might come as a surprise because of the numerous hillsides covered in trees, plentiful parks, and the many newly planted street trees. 

And while that is all true--Tree Pittsburgh has planted over 10,000 trees in the city--Crumrine says the future of Pittsburgh’s tree canopy will indeed come down to the engagement of private citizens.

The plan's core focus areas are aimed to address growing environmental challenges; create a coordinated vision for the urban forest; develop baseline metrics and clear goals; cultivate long-term advocates and civic participation; and efficiency with city-wide partners.

The first of four public meetings were held earlier this week in the East End and Northside.  A third meeting will be held tonight beginning at 5:30p.m., at the WYEP Community Broadcast Center, 67 Bedford Square, South Side.  On February 13th, a fourth meeting will be held at the Banksville Park Shelter, Banksville Park, at 5:30p.m.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Danielle Crumrine, Tree Pittsburgh