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South Salt Lake Journal

South Salt Lake reveals urban forestry plan

May 06, 2024 03:17PM ● By Bailey Chism

Fitts Park in South Salt Lake is home to many types of trees and other plants. South Salt Lake officials want to keep them healthy and growing. (Bailey Chism/City Journals)

South Salt Lake maintains thousands of trees along streets and in parks, community centers and other city facilities. 

The Urban Forestry Department is dedicated to sustaining a safe and healthy urban forest for the city. South Salt Lake is embarking on big plans this year involving trees within the city’s urban forest. 

They will begin to implement an Urban Forestry Plan this year. Anthony Biamont, parks project manager, says the theme of the South Salt Lake General Plan 2040 is to “invest in urban forestry as a neighborhood asset” and “develop an urban forestry program and focus efforts in locations with limited tree canopy, commercial and industrial areas and redeveloping areas.” 

He says the urban forestry plan will help fulfill their responsibility for protecting water quality, the watershed, air quality for the health of residents and the environment. 

“We believe it is our responsibility to leave a legacy of a healthy, beautiful and vibrant city to the next generation,” the general plan stated. “Our decisions today will consider the needs of the future.”

There are three phases to their plan: assessment and management, urban forestry plan, and implementation. Later this spring, they will complete a tree assessment and management plan for all of the city’s trees. This phase of the project will include locating and assessing city-owned trees, analyzing tree inventory data and the overall urban tree canopy, and developing a tree management plan.

The assessment will give them information on the species, age, health and condition, and more on the trees in the city. 

“We will also get helpful information regarding our entire city’s tree canopy to help us understand the distribution of trees throughout the city and their impact on the environment, economic development, property values, and social factors like physical and mental health and safety,” Biamont said. 

After this phase is completed, they will launch a planning process in the fall for the actual urban forestry plan, which is a strategic planning document to establish and guide the city’s urban forestry actions going forward. The urban forestry department is anticipating they’ll be able to get city council approval by summer 2025. 

They will be launching the first ever Tree of the Year award this year, in which residents can nominate trees within the city boundaries to win. They can be trees with special history, a unique species of tree that stands out, or even just a giant tree that’s noticed for its size. 

“The tree should embody the importance of trees in making South Salt Lake a happy and healthy community,” Biamont said. 

The winning tree will be announced during the first Tree Week from May 6-11. Tree Week will include a week-long Plant a Tree for Free giveaway, a tree planting event with Tree Utah, and a Tree Chat with a guest speaker. λ