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About, History

Forestry Highlights-Introduction and History

The idea of planting trees in Chattanooga has been around for a long time. The remnants of a turn-of-the-century effort is very evident in the older sections of town where large and stately willow oaks can still be seen. This tradition continued in the 1960's when the Scenic City Beautiful Commission spearheaded the planting of several hundred trees in the downtown area.

The City of Chattanooga initiated a new Urban Forestry program in 1989 to manage its urban forest resource. Considering that publicly managed trees in Chattanooga occur on almost 1200 miles of streets, 100 miles of alleys, over 35 parks, two public golf courses, a cemetery, and an extensive greenway system, the program is charged with managing a very large resource. The environmental, aesthetic, and economic value and impact (both positive and negative) of this program to the citizens of Chattanooga and its guests is potentially very great.

Therefore Chattanooga recognized the importance of this resource and took steps to provide professional management to sustain and enhance it. The following is a chronological listing of the milestones of the program:

1990  The "Tree Ordinance" is passed which created the Tree Advisory Commission and the position of Municipal Forester and outlines the duties and responsibilities of each. Also, the first Municipal Forester is hired.
1991  A computer and software was purchased to track inventory and service requests.
1992  An arborist was hired to assist the Municipal Forester. A separate line item budget was established for the program.
1994  A comprehensive urban forestry plan was formulated by a consulting firm. A three-man Parks Department tree crew was assembled to address the mounting backlog of service requests.
1995  A new bucket truck was purchased.
1996  Several important publications were produced:
         A. Planting Trees in Chattanooga. See attached
         B. Arboricultural Specifications Manual
2000  The position of Forestry Inspector was created to review plans, issue permits, and coordinate with various departments, contractors, developers, engineers, and others to insure that City trees are protected.
2001  The Division of Urban Forestry was transferred to the Department of Public Works.
2008  The new Take Root initiative was launched
2008  The STRATUM analysis is complete
2008  The Chattanooga Climate Action is completed detailing recommended steps for the city to take to reduce the carbon footprint and become more sustainable. Several action items related to canopy goals and
         ecosystems analysis are detailed.
2009 The GIS inventory of trees is finally completed.

Urban Forestry Master Plan 2014

State of the Trees Report 2014

Serve people with integrity and improve the infrastructure and environment through excellence.

Bill Payne, Administrator
1250 Market Street
Chattanooga TN 37402 (map)
(423) 643-6311  


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