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Department of Natural Resources will celebrate Burien’s Hilltop Park on Friday, Feb. 24

February 24, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold an event on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, at 2 p.m. when Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz joins local stakeholders at Burien’s Hilltop Park to “celebrate a shining example of the state’s investments in urban forestry and tree equity.”

Additional stakeholders invited include representatives from King Conservation District, City of Burien, Port of Seattle, and Highline School District.

Hilltop Park is a green dot within a concrete-gray landscape, and is the only park in this Burien neighborhood and sits less than a half-mile of two low-income housing developments.

According to American Forests’ Tree Equity Score map, this park scores 56 out of 100 possible points, which ranks 33 out of 38 census blocks measured in Burien.

Sixty-three percent of neighborhood residents are people of color, and 51 percent of neighborhood residents live near or below the poverty line. In Burien, only the neighborhoods below 20% people of color measure tree canopy above the city average. This is a trend with urban tree equity we see repeatedly across South King County and the entire state.

This project is a prime example of collaborative action that has ripple effects extending well beyond Hilltop Park.

“The grant funding provided by DNR – our first UCF grant of what we hope are many awarded to a project centered on environmental justice – helped a dozen middle and high school students gain first-hand, hands-on knowledge and experience with environmental restoration,” DNR officials said. “They cleared thousands of invasive blackberry bushes and planted hundreds of trees, creating a legacy that will last for generations.”

DNR is seeking an $8 million investment in urban forestry from the Legislature this session, $2 million of which would allow them to work with Youth Conservation Corps to establish a statewide program of work focused on tree planting, restoration, and urban forest maintenance.

Hilltop Park is located at 2600 S. 128th Street in Boulevard Park: