The proximity of Forest Park to urban Portland is special -- and American Forests, a nonprofit that advocates for the conservation and expansion of forests, agrees. American Forests recently named the 10 best U.S. cities for urban forests, and Portland made the cut. Also recognized were Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Sacramento, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
"Urban forests provide communities with environmental, economic and social benefits and habitat for fish and wildlife," reads the report.
"Each of the top-10 cities recognized that trees don't just provide aesthetic value, they also help in a number of other ways, including increasing property values, reducing energy costs and lowering medical costs by improving human health"
A wild oasis within an urban environment is crucial to air quality as well as ecosystems -- not to mention city dwellers' mental health. In Portland, hiking, biking and the great outdoors are just a short jaunt away in Forest Park and other areas, such as Smith & Bybee Lakes.
Natural terrain and athletic activities obviously go hand in hand -- Portland also recently ranked among the top-10 cities for running and triathlon, and Forest Park figured into those distinctions as well.
According to American Forests, Portland estimates that planting street-side trees has bolstered property values by more than $13 million, and that the entire 1.4 million tree urban forest provides more than $38 million in environmental benefits to the city.
Dig deeper into the numbers in the full report on the cities with the best urban forests, and read about the other top-10 cities as well.