Pledge by King County
3 Million TreesTotal Trees Pledged: 3,000,000
Supporting actions: Sustainable Forestry, Science and Technical Assistance, Tree Protection through Management, Forest Product Markets and Innovation, Workforce Development, Environmental Education,
King County’s 3 Million Trees initiative is our plan to plant, protect, and prepare a combined 3 million trees by the end of 2025. This goal is included in King County’s 2020 Strategic Climate Action Plan, and includes planting 500,000 trees, protecting 6,500 acres of forests and natural areas, and preparing and restoring 1,000 acres of county-owned forest by 2025.
King County is leading planting and restoration work on properties we manage without formal partnerships expected to advance that work. Our conservation work is part of a larger county-wide Land Conservation Initiative, with natural land acquisitions sometimes achieved in partnership with King County cities, community groups, and agencies (e.g., WA DNR, Washington State Parks, etc.). To avoid duplicate counting, we can flag joint acquisitions that contribute to our 3 Million Trees “protection” goal.
Acres: 1,000 / Trees: 140,000
Acres: 6,500 / Trees: 1,950,000
Acres: 6,500 / Trees: 1,950,000
Many of these supporting activities are included as part of King County’s 30-Year Forest Plan, published in February 2021.
Sustainable forestry: Several of our sites have received Forest Stewardship Council certification, and we may pursue certification for more lands in our inventory.
Science and Technical Assistance: King County is partnering with Northwest Natural Resource Group (NNRG) at Taylor Mountain Forest to demonstrate the impact of forest thinning to lower-than-usual densities, which will mitigate drought and heat-induced moisture stress by spreading available soil moisture among fewer trees, enhancing their odds of survival. NNRG and King County will produce two workshops for landowners and forest managers to share what we’ve learned.
Tree Protection through Management: King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks actively monitors and manages our forest inventory with staff foresters, arborists, and vegetation management crews. In recent years, King County’s Healthy Lands Project has provided additional tree protection support focused on newly acquired open space.
Forest Product Markets and Innovation: King County was the first county in the US to create carbon credits from conservation of rural and urban forests. Funding generated though the Forest Carbon Program is reinvested in King County’s forest conservation and restoration work.
Workforce Development: King County recently hired our first Green Jobs Program Director, who will work across all county departments to launch a new green jobs initiative as part of our Strategic Climate Action Plan. King County will also soon receive pandemic relief funds to train and employ up to 36 people in forest restoration activities.
Environmental Education: Parks’ Volunteer Program leads community members in high-quality service experiences with the goal of connection and engagement in the health of our parks. King County also recently completed our first year of the Youth Conservation Corps. This internship program provides environmental learning opportunities for high-school aged youth, covering topics ranging from environmental justice and conservation to stewardship and recreation management practices.
King County’s forestry program manages our forested lands with the primary goal of health, resilience, diversity, and long-term viability. Our climate-informed forestry practices are guided by two key documents:
King County’s 2020 Strategic Climate Action Plan, which includes forests as a key focus area to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
King County’s 30-Year Forest Plan (February 2021), which identifies seven priority areas for management, including climate, forest health, urban forest canopy, human health, salmon habitat, water quality / quantity, and sustainable timber. Each goal area includes specific goals related to cultural resources and equity.
King County prepares Forest Stewardship Plans for natural areas greater than 200 acres, and for smaller properties where forest treatments are needed to improve or maintain ecological health. King County’s forestry program is staffed, resourced, and emphasized in many county plans and initiatives, attesting to the long-term capacity and support for this work.
Forestry projects are supported by community engagement to ensure understanding and safety in areas that support public recreation. In addition, King County has identified areas with limited access to parks and natural lands, and is targeting those areas for greenspace acquisition and removing barriers to improve equitable access and benefits.