Tree Safety Program

A broken tree
Image showing on example of heat wood rot
Tree failure at Madonna Campground
Tree inspections being done at Vasona
Diseased trees at Madonna

Tree Safety Program:

Santa Clara County Department of Parks and Recreation manages various properties along the spectrum of recreational opportunities from remote areas, with little human impact, to urban environments, with heavy visitor use and impacts.  Trees are a vital part of our park ecosystems and are particularly important for shading and screening in high use recreational facilities and staging areas.  The purpose of this program is to manage vegetation in those areas most impacted by human activity, in a manner that promotes human safety, meets Department’s natural, cultural and historical resource protection policies and strives to protect public, staff and property on a site-by-site basis. These developed areas constitute, what can be called, an altered environment in which the landscape, soils, and vegetation have been altered to some extent for the purpose of access or recreational opportunity.

The Department is dedicated to the philosophy that native trees will be left in their natural condition (where that condition still exists) and will not be managed on an individual tree-by-tree basis. Concurrently, the Department recognizes the inherent conflicts between public access and use and the natural condition of trees, as they are not permanent features in the environment, particularly in developed areas where park facilities and the accumulative impact of visitor use may have a negative impact on park trees. As such, the department will reasonably manage trees, particularly in developed areas, necessary to sustain their health, maintain a representation of the natural ecosystem, identify and minimize problems that might result in tree failure, visitor and/or park staff injury, and/or property damage. The following guidelines will aid the department:

  • Protect natural woodland communities and forests,
  • Maintain a representation of the natural setting,
  • Manage problem trees in designated developed areas that are characterized by high public use, prolonged, stationary visitor uses (picnic areas, campgrounds, staging areas, etc.), and
  • Protect park facilities and cultural and historical resources.

Tree Safety Program Guidelines

The removal of trees or parts of trees can have a detrimental impact to park values. It is imperative that every inspection and decision be made by professionally trained Park personnel who are competent to judge both the degree of risk and the probable effect on park values of tree (or parts of trees) removals. Due to diseases and other impacts to trees, some County Parks are inspected on an annual basis. These parks are Mt. Madonna and Sanborn County Parks.


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