Tree-Huggers: An Arboreal Love Story Minneapolis Observer Quarterly:
When the city of Minneapolis was rising out of the prairie, it really was a prairie around here, not the forest of nearly a million trees that envelops us today. Charles Loring, first president of the Park Board and generally credited with being the first to plant trees in the city, described our terrain in the board’s 1885 annual report as “undulating prairie for the most part bare of trees. The only natural trees were clumps of black oak and scattered burr oak. These in the progress of improvement have largely disappeared.” As David C. Smith notes in his 2008 book, City of Parks, Loring expressed his hope for “the stimulus of a wider tree culture.”
It would seem that Loring got his wish. Over the years, the city -- from the power brokers to the common folk -- has consistently, though often clumsily, embraced its trees. Now, with the emerald ash borer gradually migrating toward our estimated 200,000 ash trees, the efforts of Loring and other visionaries who helped to create -- and conserve -- this remarkable urban forest will guide the city through the looming battle.