Burke Gilman Trail Preventative Tree Maintenance

Updated: February 1, 2018

Burke-Gilman Trail Project Description

Parks Urban Forestry is performing preventative tree work along the Burke-Gilman Trail (BGT). This work is part of our Preventative Tree Maintenance Program with the goal of reducing risk related to trees throughout our parks system.

Our work along the BGT will be to reduce risk related to the trees which border the trail. Our focus is to address those trees surveyed by a contractor in the summer of 2016. These trees are indicated by blue tags. These tags indicate that the tree has been inventoried and has some recommendation of work related to it. This recommended work can range from a more thorough inspection, to pruning, to full removal. These trees have been inventoried and recommendations have been given to us by the International Society of Arboriculture, comprised of Certified Arborists with Tree Risk Assessor Qualifications. These recommendations will then be reviewed by Seattle Parks and Recreation staff and either accepted, edited or rejected. Our inspection staff are also ISA Certified Arborists with Tree Risk Assessor Qualifications.

This project is a continuation of work along the BGT that we conducted during summer 2017. We will be picking up where we previously stopped working this summer at the BGT and NE 125th St. Our crew will be heading south along the trail. We have 848 trees with recommendations to either inspect, remove, cable or prune; we anticipate we will complete this project in spring 2018.

There will be minimal impacts to commuters during this period of work, though commuters will see staff working, and the occasional truck on the trail or halt to bike traffic to remove a branch. 


December 2017-February 2018


Funding comes from the Seattle Park District's Maintaining Parks and Facilities initiative, under the associated project "Provide Clean, Safe, Welcoming Parks". Explore the Budget.

Preventative Tree Maintenance Overview

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) stewards 6,412 acres of land with more than 300,000 trees. SPR's Tree Preventative Maintenance Program works to systematically reduce tree associated risk in our park system by inspecting trees located within high-use buffer zones at 480 of our parks. The buffer zone includes any elevated use area (e.g., wading pools, beaches, playgrounds, playfields, paved surfaces) extending out 50 feet. There are an estimated 171,615 trees in the Seattle park buffer zones. 

All trees in these areas identified as moderate risk or above will be addressed, and all young trees will be pruned. The program aims to inspect trees in high-use buffer zones at all SPR parks within a seven-year period, after which the process will begin again. 

Program Objectives:

  • Reduce risk associated with trees in SPR parks
  • Improve the long-term health of trees in SPR parks
  • Systematically address tree listed in SPR tree inventory
  • Retain veteran trees in SPR parks. Larger trees provide more benefits to residents then smaller trees, so the removal of large trees should only occur when pruning methods have been deemed not feasible
  • Maintain and create habitat for wildlife. Consideration will be made for birds, animals and insects. Habitat will include nesting and foraging spaces. 
  • Provide a citywide environmental education and awareness of public tree management.