Everett needs volunteers to help care for trees
The parks department is working with the private Seattle-based group Forterra to develop a 20-year plan to restore and maintain forested parklands.
The plan will assess the state of Everett's forests as well as provide solutions.
Urban forests are declining across the region, said Joanna Nelson De Flores, a project manager for Forterra, formerly known as the Cascade Land Conservancy.
Development cleared away many native evergreens and now the many alders and big-leaf maples that replaced them are dying off, she said.
Invasive species such as Himalayan blackberry, scotch broom and knotweed choke seedlings. English ivy poses a particular threat as it climbs into the canopy of trees, making them more prone to toppling in high winds.
Organizers are hitting up some neighborhood groups for volunteers to help with restoration work at Howarth Park and Thornton Sullivan Park at Silver Lake.
The city wanted to start with two well-loved, well-used parks, said Paul Kaftanski, Everett parks director. Four other parks will eventually be selected for targeted work.
Forest Park already has a dedicated crew of people who remove invasive plants.
The plan is mostly being paid for by grants, including a $100,000 gift from Boeing to Forterra. The city also has committed $70,000 to cover other costs in the next two years. Where the money will come from after those two years hasn't been determined.
Everett's plan is part of the Green Cities Program, first launched in Seattle in 2004. More than 10,000 volunteers have restored hundreds of acres of parkland there, Nelson De Flores said. Other communities with similar programs include Kirkland, Tacoma, Redmond and Kent.
Everett's parks director expects the biggest challenge in Everett will be getting and keeping volunteers involved.
"That's not unusual," Kaftanski said. "We know this can be a challenge, even in Western Washington where people value their forests."
Professionals will be hired to do dangerous or technical work. Forterra hopes volunteers can help with invasive plant removal or step into leadership roles as forest stewards.
People interested in helping should call the Everett parks line at 425-257-8300.
Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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