Crown Hill Tree Survey and Walking Tour
Our neighborhood’s unique mix of urban, rural and the wild and natural is one of Crown Hill’s defining characteristics. The trees of Crown Hill play an important role in shaping this identity, whether they are the old fruit trees that evoke the era of farms and orchards, the firs, hemlocks, maples and other Northwest natives of our ravines, or the various other trees that have grown up together with our neighborhood.
Crown Hill Neighborhood Association has used a grant from Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods to catalog our neighborhood’s trees and to highlight their environmental, historical, and cultural significance. We want to hear your stories—or just a simple description—about your favorite trees in Crown Hill. In the summer of 2010, Arthur Lee Jacobson, an urban tree expert, led a guided tour of the “significant” Crown Hill trees on the north side of Holman Road. There are now two walking tours with maps and tree descriptions so neighbors and other Seattle residents can do the tours in a self-guided form; one map is for trees north of Holman and the other for trees south of Holman. We also have an alternate version of the first tree walk.
As part of this project, we will select some of the trees identified in the survey and, with property owners’ approval, we will register them with SDOT’s Heritage Tree Program. This will be the first time Crown Hill as a whole has participated in this program. Please note that the Heritage Tree designation does not place any legal restrictions on a particular tree, nor do other elements of this project attempt to do so. This project merely attempts to increase education about the ecological functions trees perform in an urban environment, and to recognize those trees of significance to the Crown Hill community.
- Identify “Champion trees”: – Are there “old-growth” trees remaining in Crown Hill? What are the neighborhood’s best examples of a particular tree species? The survey will identify trees of exceptional size or form—for example, the largest Douglas firs—and register them as part of SDOT’s Heritage Tree Program.
- Recognize our natural assets: Straddling three different watersheds, including an active salmon stream, our neighborhood is part of a larger ecological system. Our trees perform a critical function in that system by mitigating the impact of stormwater runoff, securing slopes, and harboring wildlife. A goal of this project is to enhance understanding of the environmental functions of Crown Hill trees, as well as about urban trees in general.
- Design an around-the-world tree tour…without leaving the neighborhood: The diversity of Seattle’s trees is unique. Our moderate climate allows for an arboretum-like variety of species to flourish here. Arthur Lee Jacobsen’s book, Trees of Seattle, highlights some of the notable roadside attractions in Crown Hill. The Crown Hill tree catalogue on the CHNA website will include Mr. Jacobsen’s list. Did you know that one of North America’s rarest trees once called a yard on 90th and Dibble home? The fact that this young bristlecone pine, whose older relatives are among the world’s oldest living organisms, was transplanted to Olympia might make many of us wish we were able to appreciate it more while it still lived in Crown Hill.
- Create a more walkable Crown Hill: Another project goal is to create a stronger pedestrian environment in Crown Hill—to get people walking and encourage them to come out of their houses to meet their neighbors.
- Strengthen Crown Hill’s sense of culture and history: In addition to the beauty, shade, and other environmental functions trees perform, they also have a historical and cultural significance. We hope this project will serve as a forum for telling stories and discussing issues that ultimately will help illuminate our neighborhood’s very culture.