Urban Forestry

Photo collage to commemorate Tree City USA 34th Year

Grants Pass is honored to receive Tree City USA designation for 34 years running! 

Reporting Tree Issues

Many tree issues in town are reported by concerned citizens.

If you see a potentially hazardous tree along our streets, or perhaps are concerned about tree work occurring in the right-of-way, please reach out to the City by using the Public Works Comment Form, which you can submit online.

If you have concerns about a tree in one of the City parks, use the
Parks and Recreation Services Comment Form, which you can submit online.

Tree Canopy Program

The application window for the 2023 Tree Canopy Program closes on October 13. Please visit our website to apply for the 2023 Tree Canopy Program.

Tree Inventory Project

The City began its very first inventory of all public and semi-public trees within our parks and along our rights-of-way (e.g., street trees). This is an ambitious program to map and document the urban forest of Grants Pass. Volunteers have partnered with the City to map trees and collect data. You may encounter a volunteer, who will be wearing a yellow vest and entering data into a smartphone or clipboard. 

We hope to accomplish the following from our tree inventory: (1) Quantify the known benefits of our urban forest; (2) Identify the health of our forest; (3) Quantify the diversity of our forest; (4) Identify maintenance needs; (5) Identify potential planting locations; (6) Assess infrastructure and tree conflicts; and (7) Engage residents with their environment and community.

In order to properly manage our urban forest assets, we need to know the status of our forest and the location of its trees. Imagine not knowing where the City’s sewer lines, stop signs, or streetlights are located! 

If you would like to volunteer, please reach out to the City Urban Forester, James Pasley. (jpasley@grantspassoregon.gov). Volunteers will receive one-on-one training and necessary tools and resources. As a volunteer of the very first inventory, you will make a lasting impression on the urban forest and its management for decades (if not centuries) to come. A great volunteer does not need tree expertise. A desire to improve Grants Pass and some interest in trees is all you need. 

(Please note that the inventory will not involve private trees.)

Our Goal

The City’s goal is to restore, establish, and maintain a healthy urban forest with age and species diversity that keeps pace with urban growth, recognizing the numerous functions and benefits a healthy urban forest provides.

What is an “Urban Forest”?

The US Forest Service answers this question by stating: “Over 130 million acres of America’s forests are located right in our cities and towns. Urban forests come in many different shapes and sizes. They include urban parks, street trees, landscaped boulevards, gardens, river and coastal promenades, greenways, river corridors, wetlands, nature preserves, shelter belts of trees, and working trees at former industrial sites. Urban forests, through planned connections of green spaces, form the green infrastructure on which communities depend. Green infrastructure works at multiple scales from the neighborhood to the metro area to the regional landscape.” (https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/urban-forests)

Did you know that as of 2010, 81% of Americans live in urban areas?

Our urban forest does more than just make our city beautiful, it provides the following benefits:

  • Air and water pollution reduction
  • Increased retail and residential property values
  • Energy use reduction
  • Water conservation
  • Erosion prevention and control
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Mitigation of urban heat sink
  • Noise suppression
  • Stormwater management and retention
  • Traffic calming
  • Physical and mental health enhancements

What Can You Do to Help?

In December 2019, the City hired its first Urban Forester, which is tasked with upholding the goals of the forestry plan and the City’s urban forestry goal. The Urban Forester is a phone call or email away when it comes to anything tree related in our parks or public right-of-ways (this is typically the area between the curb and the sidewalk along our streets). If you have any of the following interests or concerns, please contact our Urban Forester.

  • Hazardous Trees – do you suspect a tree to be hazardous? Contact the City’s Urban Forester for an inspection. It is the responsibility of the landowner to maintain the trees in the public right-of-way. The City has limited funds available to help assist with the cost of tree removals and replacements for hazardous trees. Check out the “50/50 Program” for more information.
  • New Tree Plantings – would you like a new front yard or a public right-of-way tree? The City has a great “Tree Canopy Program,” which provides a new tree for you for only $50! Apply early because we only have funds for the first 50 applicants.
  • Memorial Trees – the City wishes to assist you in the honoring and memorialization of loved ones. If you have a person you wish to honor, or would like to memorialize a late relative, friend, or loved one, the City provides a “Memorial Tree Program” for only $100. This provides the funding for a new tree planting in the park of your choice. See below for more information
  • Heritage Tree Program the Heritage Tree Program allows constituents and property owners to recognize, foster appreciation, and provide for the protection of significant trees. A Heritage Tree is any tree or stand of trees designated by resolution of the City Council to be of significant community benefit due to age, size, species, horticultural quality or historical value. Heritage Trees can be on private, public, or semi-public land (e.g. public right-of-way).
  • Arbor Day – Grants Pass has been a Tree City USA since 1987! We’ve accomplished this through the activism of city residents, elected officials, and staff. To commemorate our continued passion for our urban forest, the City of Grants Pass celebrates Arbor day on the first Monday of the first full week in April. Stay tuned to the City’s various social media accounts and publications for annual invitations. All are welcome!
  • Urban Tree Advisory Committee – do you want to have an active voice in the direction of our urban forest’s management? Come to our Urban Tree Advisory Committee meetings and voice your opinion. The committee has open spots on occasion and we highly recommend interested citizens to join.
  • Tree Inventory Project  the City and volunteers are currently mapping the location of all public trees. This information will allow the City to better understand the condition and needs of its urban forest. Volunteers are always welcome. Contact the Urban Forester to learn more.
  • New and Exciting Programs – in the months and years to come, expect more opportunities to get involved with the urban forest of Grants Pass. Down the pike, we anticipate some volunteering events to inventory the public trees along our right-of-ways. More information to come!

Tree Standards and Requirements

The City of Grants Pass has rules and requirements regarding trees within the city limits. These are contained in Article 23 of the Grants Pass Development Code (PDF).

For building and construction requirements and rules, as well as information for homeowners wanting to plant or remove trees, check out these pages:

List of approved street and parking lot trees

Tree Planting Programs

City of Grants Pass Committees and Tree Plans

Tree Awards

  • Heritage Trees the City has 6 Heritage Trees. A webpage is coming soon! 
  • Significant Tree Registry a list of local trees of significance.
  • Oregon Tree City of the Year 2020 – Grants Pass was awarded the honor of top tree city in Oregon by the Oregon Community Trees.
  • Tree City USA  34 years running, Grants Pass has achieved this National Arbor Day Foundation designation.
  • Sterling Tree City USA – in 2020, Grants Pass became a Sterling Tree City USA, which is a special designation for communities that go above and beyond the Tree City USA requirements for at least 10 years.
  • Tree City USA Growth Award – Grants Pass received its 11th Growth Award in 2021 for its continued expansion of tree protections, plantings, and management.


Contact Us

  1. Josh Hopkins
    Parks Superintendent
    Email Josh Hopkins
    Ph: 541-450-6160

    Chad Westbrook
    Parks Supervisor
    Email Chad Westbrook
    Ph: 541-450-6161

    James Pasley
    Urban Forester
    Email James Pasley
    Ph: 541-450-6164

    Julia Wright
    Recreation Program Coordinator
    Email Julia Wright
    Ph: 541-471-6435


    101 NW A Street
    Grants Pass, OR 97526


    Monday - Friday
    7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

    Staff Directory


  1. Park Surveys

    Urban Tree Advisory Committee

    Parks Advisory Committee

    Tree Permit Application (PDF)
    The Tree Permit application is required to remove, prune, and plant trees in the City right-of-way.

  2. Park Surveys

    Go to the Park Surveys page.