Planting in fire restoration area
Recently planted seedling Planting in fire restoration area © Boise National Forest


City of Trees Challenge Secures Funding for Boise National Forest Fire Restoration

The Nature Conservancy in Idaho, City of Boise and Treasure Valley Canopy Network have received $25,000 in funding from the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 37,000 seedlings with Boise National Forest to restore lands damaged by the 2016 Pioneer Fire. As part of the City of Trees Challenge, these seedlings will improve wildlife habitat and help the land heal from impacts of the fire, ensuring these forests recover, grow and provide opportunities for current and future generations of Idahoans.

This is the first major planting effort of the City of Trees Challenge, a ten-year initiative started by the City of Boise and Council President Elaine Clegg, aimed at planting 100,000 trees within the city and 235,000 seedlings in Idaho forests. In October and November of this year, 1000 trees were planted with 500 trees being given to Boise residents and the remainder planted by the City. The funding from Arbor Day Foundation provides an important start toward planting 235,000 seedlings by 2030.

“The City of Boise has set a big goal with concrete action to improve quality of life and fight the effects of climate change – to plant a tree for every household and a seedling for every resident” said City Council President Elaine Clegg.  “We are excited to partner with the Treasure Valley Canopy Network, The Nature Conservancy in Idaho (TNC) and the Arbor Day Foundation to begin work on the second part of that goal with these 37,000 seedlings.”

Forester planting a seedling in a forest opening
Seedling Planting Planting after a fire in the Boise National Forest © Boise National Forest

The Nature Conservancy was one of the initial partners the City brought on. “We are delighted to be a part of the City of Trees Challenge as the lead partner in the seedling effort,” says Mark Menlove, State Director for TNC in Idaho. “Planting trees has been identified as a natural climate solution to reduce greenhouse gases and to help our communities adapt to a changing climate. By working with both our urban and rural partners, we believe this effort will have a significant impact.”

The Arbor Day Foundation funding will support the planting trees within the Boise National Forest as part of a fire rehabilitation in Upper Clear Creek, burned during the 2016 Pioneer Fire. This project will plant ponderosa pine and Douglas fir this coming spring to rehabilitate areas to improve soil stability, forest health and wildlife habitat in the forest. This will be the first planting towards the 235,000 seedling goal.

“The City of Trees Challenge highlights the importance of both restoring and protecting our nation’s forests and bringing the benefits of community trees to our cities and towns,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “We are proud to help preserve the beauty and the many ecological benefits of the Boise National Forest for generations to come.”

The City of Trees Challenge began as an idea by City Council President, Elaine Clegg. This community-wide initiative inspires Boiseans to plant a new tree for every household across the city - in every corner of every neighborhood for a total of 100,000 over ten years. The Challenge also impacts forests around the state by empowering Boiseans to sponsor a forest seedling for every Boise resident (235,000 seedlings). For the Challenge, the City has partnered with the Treasure Valley Canopy Network, The Nature Conservancy and more.

The Treasure Valley Canopy Network is a regional publicprivate partnership that invests in building and supporting healthy and vibrant Treasure Valley Communities. As a lead partner in the City of Trees Challenge, the Network is helping build critical partnerships that ensure the Challenge leaves a lasting impact on climate mitigation not only within Boise, but across Idaho and the U.S. 

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.