The City Forestry Program began in 1941 with the appointment of the first city arborist. World War II came and operations came to a standstill. In 1946 the maintenance headquarters was established at Ellis Park. In 1947 the first chain saw and an arch truck was purchased. Things were moving along pretty smoothly until 1963 when Dutch Elm Disease was first discovered in the city. In 1968 there were 28 full-time employees, mostly removing diseased Elm trees. In 1971, the Forestry Program removed 5000 dead or diseased trees. As the disease ran its course the Forestry Program began replanting. In 1974, 1500 trees were planted.
The City stopped planting trees in early 2000 and began planting again in 2008. The program was expanded in 2009 with its own CIP budget and currently installs about 1000 trees annually.
In 2006, the Forestry Program was moved into the Public Works Department and the City Arborist moved to the Engineering Division in order to be more involved with development.
Forestry and the City Arborist were moved into the Parks & Recreation Department in April 2015 in order to focus on street tree maintenance.
The Cedar Rapids Forestry Program maintains about 65,000 public trees within the borders of Cedar Rapids. Included are:
- 4,000 acres of parks containing 10,000 trees
- 1,000 acres of golf courses containing 5,000 trees
- 618 Linear Miles of City right-of-way with an estimated 50,000 trees
To accomplish this, 12 full-time employees carry out tree work on a year-round basis. The program has 17 vehicles, including 3 boom trucks, a log loader, 2 dump trucks, 2 tree spades, and 2 stump grinders.
Cedar Rapids has been recognized as a Tree City USA City for 33 consecutive years!
City Services Center (CSC)
500 15th Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.