Trees & Green Space

Thriving and accessible trees & green space
Trees and green spaces have significant environmental, economic, and social benefits -- including improving air and water quality, natural stormwater management and soil protection, and attracting people to local business districts and community spaces. As our city continues to grow, protecting and enhancing our urban forest and green spaces remains a key priority in order to ensure the benefits of our natural assets are enjoyed by all Seattle residents. 

Tree graphic showing 28 percent canopy cover

Canopy Cover

Goal: Achieve 30% canopy cover by 2037
As of 2016, we have achieved a 28% canopy cover across the city. However, the areas of our city where the population is primarily people of color and people with low incomes canopy cover is only 20%.

Canopy cover is the percent of the city that is covered by trees, as seen in an aerial view. The City of Seattle's most recent canopy cover study found that the majority of our urban trees are found in two locations: residential areas, representing 67% of the land and containing 72% of Seattle's tree canopy, and in the right-of-way (which is interspersed throughout the city), representing 27% of the land and 22% of the canopy. Canopy cover differs across the city based on land use, the presence of parks and natural areas, and socio-economic factors. 

Small medium and large tree graphics depicting new trees planted 2016, 2017 and 2018

Tree Planting

Goal: Increase Seattle's tree canopy through City tree planting
Seattle City departments have planted 5,454 trees since 2016.

Additionally, the Green Seattle Partnership has planted over 190,940 seedlings as part of our forest restoration efforts in that same time frame. The Green Seattle Partnership is a collaboration between the City of Seattle, Forterra, community groups and non-profits, businesses, schools, and thousands of volunteers working together to restore and actively maintain the City's forested parklands.

Tree icons showing 1,691 acres restored

Forested Parklands Restored 

Goal: Restore 2500 acres of forested parkland by 2025
Since 2005, Seattle has enrolled 1,691 acres of forested parklands and other natural areas in restoration 

The Green Seattle Partnership wrapped up another successful year in 2018. In addition to getting closer to achieving our goal in acres restored, other key 2018 accomplishments include:

• 170,697 native plants installed in our projects
• 4,177 trees saved from the grip of invasive English ivy
• 76,920 volunteer hours dedicated in support of our ambitious goals - and crossing the milestone of 1 million volunteer hours to date!

Graphic showing 94 percent within 10 minute walk to a park

Proximity to Parks 

Goal: Increase the number of Seattle households within a 10 minute walk to a park.
As of 2018, 94% of Seattle households are within a 10 minute walk to a park and 77% of households in urban villages are within a 5 minute walk to a park. 

Seattle uses the Trust for Public Land and the National Park Service definition of 'walkability' as the distance a person walks in 10 minutes, which is approximately ½ mile. 'Walkability' is both a measurement and an urban design concept. The measurement is the distance from a park. As an urban design concept, it is how an area or neighborhood is designed to encourage walking, including factors such as sidewalks or pedestrian rights-of-way, safety, traffic, road conditions and other public amenities such as open space.

3 parks in 2018 and 14 parks in development, graphic of tree, park bench, swing

Equitable Access to Parks

Goal: Ensure equitable access to parks
Seattle dedicated three new parks in 2018 and has 14 new parks in development.

Seattle Parks and Recreation prioritizes park acquisition in areas that will increase equitable access to parks, particularly within the City's growing urban villages with identified gaps in walkability, and prioritized via equity and health, income and poverty, density, and opportunity. The Seattle Park District provides $2 million annually, which is leveraged with a one-to-one match from the state to purchase new land in these areas.

People icons with swings, dog, trees showing 46,000 participating in parks environmental programs

Connection to Nature

Goal: Connect people to nature through programs in Seattle parks
Over 46,000 people of all ages connected to nature in 2018 through Seattle Parks and Recreation's environmental education programs.

With the City of Seattle's Equity & Environment Agenda as our framework, Seattle Parks and Recreation is expanding community-based environmental education programming into areas of Seattle most impacted by environmental injustices--where communities of color, immigrants, refugees, people with low incomes and limited-English proficiency individuals tend to live. Through collaborative partnerships with schools and community organizations environmental education staff have expanded programming, connecting more people to nature in Chinatown-International District, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Rainier Beach, South Park, Delridge, and Lake City.

Sustainability and Environment

Jessyn Farrell, Director
Address: 700 5th Avenue, #1868, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94729, Seattle, WA, 98124-4729
Phone: (206) 256-5158

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We collaborate with City agencies, business groups, nonprofit organizations, and other partners to protect and enhance Seattle's distinctive environmental quality and livability.