We believe Billings is a wonderful place to live, but our city is also facing growing challenges, one of which is the lack of tree cover in our city. Research has shown that urban forestry in cities can…
- Reduce temperatures on hot days by up to nine degrees
- Improve air quality
- Absorb stormwater
- Make our neighborhoods greener and healthier
- Provide life-saving shade for unhoused folks
- and much more.
Cities like Great Falls, Sidney, Butte, Kalispell, Red Lodge, Missoula, Bozeman and others have prioritized urban forestry for these reasons, and already have comprehensive management approaches in place. Unfortunately, Billings lacks a cohesive approach to urban forestry and does not have a comprehensive urban forestry program in place.
Currently, tree cover in Billings is not evenly distributed. Neighborhoods that are lower-income tend to have the least trees; consequently, they experience less of the above benefits. With some proactive effort from our community and the City Council, Billings could be well-positioned to change this. This is a grassroots way to develop prosperity in the neighborhoods that most need it.
Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council (YVCC) is the local Yellowstone County affiliate of Northern Plains Resource Council and is leading a campaign to accomplish exactly that. YVCC is a grassroots community organization that advocates for a healthy, inviting, and sustainable community here in Billings and Yellowstone County. We believe that every resident deserves access to a green and inviting environment.
We are asking the city of Billings to:
- Recognize that trees are part of our city infrastructure, and that they are necessities, not amenities;
- Increase tree canopy in our city, including in boulevards, parks, cemeteries, and any other city-owned property
Specifically, we’d like to see Billings take concrete steps toward creating a comprehensive urban forestry program. Those steps could include forming a city Tree Board, conducting a tree inventory, or developing an urban forestry management plan. We’d also like to ensure that Billings maximizes the use of unprecedented funds that are available for urban forestry efforts within the federal Inflation Reduction Act. We’ve already succeeded in helping the city to secure $1 million of these funds!
In order to accomplish all of the above, we need to show the city – and City Council – that residents of Billings support urban forestry and would stand behind their efforts on this front, should they choose to take action. We want more trees!
We invite you to join us in supporting this vital effort by signing our petition to the City of Billings below. This petition will be delivered to the Billings City Council later this fall. Show your commitment to making Billings a greener, more equitable, and more sustainable city. Together, we can make a significant impact on our community’s future.