Urban Forest Restoration Project Underway at Everett’s Forest Park

August 15, 2014

Everett, Everett Government

Forest Park

Forest Park map from City of Everett Parks Department web site.

There’s a unique project underway to ensure that one of Everett’s gems, Forest Park on Mukilteo Boulevard, stays healthy for future generations. Here are the details from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources…

The Urban Forestry Restoration Project, administered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry Program (DNR), is an exciting opportunity to enhance the capacity of urban forests to manage stormwater and improve air and water quality by improving the health and functionality of trees and forested sites in urban settings. Even more exciting is our opportunity to participate in this program here in Everett.

Over the next several weeks, a Washington Conservation Corps team will continue to remove the English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, English laurel and a number of dead and dying trees from the forested area in Forest Park between the lower ballfield and Mukilteo Boulevard. These invasive, non-native plants prevent forested areas from providing our community the full benefits and services of healthy forests by competing for water and nutrients, and in some cases even killing trees. Many undesirable plants that grow in dense thickets also harbor rats and other vermin, creating a public safety hazard. Once the unwelcome plants are gone, native vegetation will be planted in its place.  As this is an ongoing re-forestation effort, the team will also assess the previously planted trees and clear unwanted vegetation from around the plantings.

Forest Park is the largest park in the City of Everett and is one of the oldest. Its forested areas were planted by Works Progress Administration crews in the 1930s. The park was developed by the Hall family, who had strong English horticultural ties. The park was widely planted with this English style of landscaping which included a number of species well-suited for the region such as English holly, English ivy, and English and Portuguese laurel.  Crews also planted many ornamental varieties of conifer and broadleaf trees. A few of these ornamental varieties have grown into the forested area and need to be removed.

As this forested area is in maturity some eighty years later, a five acre section of the forest is in major decline. Root rot, structural issues, general decline, and death are prevalent. From this loss of the forest canopy, invasive species such as blackberry, ivy, holly and laurel have widely expanded. There are a large number of these ornamental varieties that have added to the proliferation of the invasive species within these forested areas. After these removals the WCC crew will help prepare for the planting of the new materials for the forest, to include trees and understory plantings. These plantings will occur in the fall.

Everett Parks and Forterra formed the Green Everett Partnership with Forterra in 2012, and Forterra and park stewards and volunteers continue to aid in this reforestation project.

To learn more about how you can help keep Forest Park healthy in the future, contact Jeff Price, jprice@everettwa.gov.

For more information about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, visit the Project online or contact Micki McNaughton at (360) 902-1637 or micki.mcnaughton@dnr.wa.gov. The Washington State Urban and Community Forestry Program is made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service.

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