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Denver named among 10 best cities for urban forests

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Denver's City Park (Photo: Greg Ness | American Forests)

DENVER — The Mile High City is among one of the ten best cities for urban forests, according to a review by American Forests.

The nonprofit conservation organization surveyed cities across the country using a blue-ribbon panel of forest experts.

The other cities listed include Austin, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

The study, funded by the U.S. Forest Service, looked at six criteria including:

  • Civic engagement in maintaining the urban forest;
  • Urban forest strategies and city greening to address city infrastructure challenges;
  • Accessibility of urban forest and greenspaces to the public;
  • Overall health and condition of the city’s urban forest;
  • Documented knowledge about its urban forests; and
  • Urban forest management plans and management activities.

“Top-ranked cities, like Denver, have made prolonged investments in the health of urban forest,” said spokesperson Berry Brady in a news release.

“Trees don’t just provide aesthetic value, they also help in a number of other ways, including increasing property values, reducing energy costs and lowering medical costs by improving human health,” Brady said.

American Forests said the city of Denver estimates that $18 million in net income related to tourism can be attributed to its park system.

“Many cities across the U.S. are doing great work to care for their urban forests,” said Scott Steen, American Forests CEO and member of the judging panel. “Denver’s urban forest success is especially noteworthy because the city’s climate is less than ideal for lush vegetation. The city’s healthy urban forest is a direct result of multi-pronged initiatives and plans, as well as long-term commitment, to make Denver’s urban forest flourish for the benefit of the community.”