A View of Our Urban Forest

August 21, 2020

One of the most striking features of the view from 102’ isn’t the city, but the lack of it.Look southeast from the top of The Water Tower and instead of rows of houses, you see a dense, urban forest, with roofs and streets peaking through the canopy.The first time we got up there and looked out, we were surprised by the sheer amount of trees. And, that’s a theme that has come back again and again in our conversation with our patrons – almost everyone who comes up here for the first time comments on the sheer number of trees.

A closer look at our urban forest

While the view from the top of The Water Tower is amazing, what really astounds us is that every one of those trees we see from up there was planted by hand.You see, as a city in the heart of the prairies, none of the trees are native to this area. Left to its own devices, this area would have endless plains, interrupted only by the scrub in the coulees.But, thanks to the fore(st)sight of our city planners, and the years of labour our city workers have put in planting trees, we have so many trees.How many, you ask?The Lethbridge forest by numbersAccording to the city of Lethbridge, there are 47,016 trees across the city. That’s over a tree for every household in the city.That huge forest is made up of 10 species, including both deciduous and coniferous trees. Species include:

  • Ash
  • Spruce
  • Elm
  • Poplar
  • Pine
  • Maple
  • Crab Apple
  • Linden
  • Choke Cherry
  • Birch

By far the species most planted in Lethbridge is the might ash, with over 10,000 in the city. Spruce comes in with a close second at nearly 8,500, with elm taking third with over 5,500.

The benefits

Beyond the numbers, the forest of Lethbridge brings with it a host of benefits for the residents of our fine city.First among the benefits, according to us, is the beauty. Whether you’re looking from 100’ up, or walking under the span of branches on London Road, the trees are beautiful. If that was all the benefits, it would still be worth it. But wait, there’s more.

  • Cooler summer temperatures – It can get hot here in Lethbridge. But, the good news is those trees offer 1207 acres of shade (about 7% of the city) cooling us down, and offering breaks from the hot, summer sun.
  • Carbon Storage – Trees are great at sucking up carbon from the atmosphere. Our great forest stores about 140,000 tonnes of carbon each year, which is about the output of 25,000 cars.
  • More Oxygen – When those trees are sucking up CO2, they’re breathing out oxygen. In fact, the forest puts out about 575 tonnes of it every year.
  • Increased Urban Biodiversity – You can thank those trees for all the bird songs you hear throughout the city. The great diversity of trees offers homes to all kinds of small critters, which means our population is made up of more than just humans.

Lethbridge – a view to remember

Of course, we’re super thankful for the urban forest because it gives our patrons the best view in the city. Combine that with dinner and drinks, and we think it’s a winning combination.So, come on by for a drink and a view – you won’t be disappointed.

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