By Jeremiah Stettler
Salt Lake City, UT (September 11, 2007)- Salt Lake County Mayor, Peter Corroon, plans to sink his roots a little deeper into Beehive State soil. And, hopefully, his million constituents will do the same. The county mayor announced plans last week to plant a million trees in the Salt Lake Valley during the next decade – an ambitious aim that will take about 274 tree-plantings per day- seven days a week, 365 days a year.
“In the end, we’ll have a beautiful, green canopy over Salt Lake County that we all can be proud of,” said Corroon, overshadowed by a 100-foot London plane tree in Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park. Whether it’s air quality, energy savings or aesthetics, Corroon said a greener county makes good sense.
But Salt Lake County isn’t spreading that canopy alone. County and city governments will plant only one out of 10 trees envisioned under the program. The remaining 900,000 trees will come from private plantings by corporations such as Kennecott Copper, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and county residents.
County officials did not provide any cost estimates for million-tree program, but said Rocky Mountain Power and the state have contributed $25,000 and $10,000 respectively in seed money.
While the county is considering greenery incentives- such as discounts at valley nurseries for tree planters- Environmental Policy Coordinator Ann Ober said the county has forged no agreements. “For now,” she said, “we are just asking people to go out and plant a tree, and plant a tree in the right place.” The county’s million-tree website- it’s scheduled for posting late this month- will detail what constitutes a “right place.”
The county has begun drafting is first tree-care ordinance, and officials hint that they may hire a full-time forester next year. Mike Marett, an urban forester in Sandy and president of the Utah Community Forest Council, applauded the county for filling a “big void” in the valley’s tree-care program. “To get them to come on board and do it right,” he said, “is the most tremendous benefit to this whole thing.”
Register your new trees at Salt Lake County’s website. The site includes a registry for residents who want to add their plantings to the million-tree tally.
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Million Trees Salt Lake
Salt Lake County Government
Salt Lake tree-care information