Online map tracks every tree on city property |

Online map tracks every tree on city property

Last year's Aspen Arbor Day celebration also featured a tree giveaway and bucket truck rides for the kids.

For those who can’t get enough tree-related information at Aspen’s Arbor Day celebration today, the city’s forester is ready to dish out some more.

Ben Carlsen has spent the past five months working with a private software company to map every tree on city property in Aspen. Now online, the interactive map allows city residents and city forestry crews to have instant access to a plethora of information about each of the city’s trees.

“You can click on any tree on any city property,” said Carlsen, who’s been city forester for two years. “The huge benefit … is the ecological benefit.”

Those ecological benefits come into focus once users of the map click on a particular tree, he said. That click not only provides information on the type of tree, location and size, it also tells people how many gallons of storm water runoff the tree takes in, how much carbon it absorbs and other yearly benefits it provides, Carlsen said.

“We’re one of just a handful of cities using this,” he said. “It’s not common.”

In addition, city crews can update tree information — such as when it was last pruned or other maintenance issues — simply by using computer tablets, Carlsen said.

Go to to check out the city’s tree map.

City residents who want to contribute to Aspen’s forest for free should plan on attending the city’s Arbor Day festivities between 10 a.m. and noon today at Paepcke Park. The city spent about $4,000 on 127 trees officials will give away only to residents, Carlsen said.

The city also will offer hot dogs, refreshments and prizes at the celebration as well as a “bucket truck” used for pruning trees that will hoist children about 65 feet in the air, he said.

“Kids love that,” Carlsen said.

And on Saturday, the bucket truck rides also may provide a bird’s-eye view of a prescribed burn in the Hunter Creek Valley that fire officials have said will likely occur, he said.

The grand prize at this year’s festivities includes a large tree custom planted by members of the city’s forestry crews, Carlsen said.

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