The Heritage Tree Program is a voluntary program within the City of Bellevue that celebrates exceptional trees for their history, botanical value, or landmark value. This program encourages the preservation of large, valuable trees and to increase public awareness about trees and Bellevue’s urban forest as part of our Environmental Stewardship Plan’s 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 city-wide 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. Our 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.
Heritage Trees may be any of the following:
Botanical Specimen: a tree of exceptional form, size, or rarity
Historic: a tree with association with a notable person, historical event, contribution to a historic landscape or structure, or its age.
Community Landmark: a tree of significance to a community
Group: A notable group of trees like a grove or avenue
Nominate a Heritage Tree on our website, Engaging Bellevue:
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 Bridle Trails R-1 Land Use Area