10 Best Cities for Urban Forests: Minneapolis
- Photo Credit: Anthony Arrigo
- A view of Loring Park, Minneapolis. Credit: Dan Wick
- Central Minneapolis from across the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Falls. Credit: Ron Reiring
- Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Credit: Richie Diesterheft
- A wintery street in Minneapolis. Credit: Minneapolis Parks & Recreation
Named the “Fittest City in America” by the American Fitness Index and one of the “World’s Cleanest Cities” by MSN, Minneapolis can now add the credential of having one of the top urban forests. The City of Lakes is home to an abundance of varied parkland — a park every six blocks — including those designed for off-road cycling and those for hiking, canoeing and swimming.
Minneapolis’ tree canopy of 31 percent is only 6.5 percent shy of its potential canopy of 37.5 percent based on geographic information system (GIS) analysis and modeling. Minneapolis was actually one of the first cities to use the U.S. Forest Service’s iTree assessment tool to determine the benefits of its urban forest. Today, it’s estimated that the city’s urban forest has a structural value of $756 million and also reduces energy use by $216,000 per year. This reduction in energy usage reduces carbon emissions at an estimated value of $16,000.