Through the Heritage Tree program, the city celebrates exceptional trees in Bellevue notable for their history, botanical value or landmark value. This program encourages the preservation of large, valuable trees and increases awareness about Bellevue’s urban forest as part of our Environmental Stewardship Plan’s tree canopy goals.
As part of planning efforts to preserve city character and take advantage of the benefits trees provide, the city has set a goal of 40% canopy in every neighborhood in the city by 2050. Our citywide canopy cover was last estimated at 37% in 2017, though different neighborhoods have varying canopy. While a 3% increase may not seem significant, the city and the public need to preserve many more trees and plant at least 2,500 trees a year to meet our goals.
Heritage Trees can be on city or private property. Candidate trees are assessed by city staff and/or trained volunteers before being designated as Heritage Trees. Trees must have the owner’s approval and meet criteria for health and value.
- Botanical Specimen: of exceptional form, size or rarity
- Historic: associated with a notable person, historical event or a contribution to a historic landscape or structure or its age.
- Community Landmark: of significance to a community
- Group: notable group of trees such as a grove or along an avenue
The Heritage Tree program is voluntary. There are no code restrictions currently, but if you are looking to learn more about city tree codes:
- Clearing and grading (BCC 23.76.035) discusses requirements for removing trees on private property, including permit requirements and construction work
- Tree retention and replacement (LUC20.20.900) discusses requirements for preserving and replacing trees on private property in the Bridle Trails R-1 Land Use Area