COLORADO SPRINGS — The City of Colorado Springs planted seven new trees at the Meadows Park Community Center on Wednesday to celebrate Arbor Day.

This year marks Colorado Springs’ 45th year as Tree City USA – the longest running city in the state of Colorado to hold this designation. At the tree planting ceremony on Wednesday, the Colorado State Forest Service presented the City with Tree City USA and Tree Line USA awards.

The city’s dedication to its urban foliage dates back all the way to the city’s founder, General William Jackson Palmer, who in 1872, spent his own money to have 600 cottonwood trees shipped in by rail and planted along Monument Valley Creek.

“Colorado Springs enjoys a special relationship with trees, dating back 150 years ago to the vision of our founder William Jackson Palmer,” said Dennis Will, city forester. “Arbor Day allows us an annual opportunity to highlight the significance of our urban forest and how we can improve it.”

City Forestry manages a ‘living infrastructure’ of approximately 300,000 urban street trees and 20,000 park trees citywide. In 2019, an Urban Tree Canopy Assessment identified the tree canopy at neighborhood parks and community centers, which are often irrigated, as having the highest percentage of possible planting area and a sizeable opportunity for urban tree canopy expansion.

Forestry is working to add trees to these areas, as funding allows. In 2022, Forestry plans to plant an estimated 50 trees citywide, including the seven planted Wednesday. Additionally, more than 250 trees are being planted in Panorama Park as a part of the park renovation this year.