Blog Post By Jason Galliger

Why We Need More Trees In Our Local Parks

What makes a great local park?

Some people say amenities like playgrounds and sports courts, others simply say access.

We say trees and well-designed green spaces.

Why? We think that a park lacking usable green spaces and trees is not living up to its full potential. Think about it — are you drawn to a concrete-filled park?

Data from our latest Tree Report Card shows that many of D.C.’s public parks are in need of trees.

In fact, 87 of D.C’s local parks have a tree canopy of less than 20 percent, limiting their potential.

That’s why our newest advocacy campaign focuses on our local parks, or those owned by the District’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

20 percent of all D.C. is parkland. Of that 20 percent, 74 percent is owned and maintained by the National Park Service, 10 percent is owned and managed by the District Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and 16 percent is owned by other entities such as public-private partnerships.

Many of DPR’s parks are well-integrated and super vital to the community. Garfield Park in Ward 6 is a prime example.

The goal of Casey Trees’ local parks campaign is a commitment to transforming neighborhood parks that are empty or misused into well-loved, well-used, tree-filled public spaces. Tree-filled local parks are more welcoming, shadier, attract wildlife and build communities.

Which is why we are thrilled by one of the recent actions of DPR.

DPR is planning to transform the pocket park at 13th & Quincy NW into a beautiful zen garden with gingkoes and serviceberries. Just look at the difference between the triangle park at 13th & Quincy NW in its current state and in the rendering below. Which would you value more?

We thank DPR for their recent efforts and encourage them to continue re-treeing our parks.

If you are interested in joining our parks campaign to improve D.C.’s local parks, please email campaign manager Jewel Lipps at  Jewel is currently working with our Design & Advocacy department to identify priority actions for the campaign. Once those are set, there will be events to sign up for and other ways you can get involved.

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