View Full Version : Tree Planting Project along Lake Hefner Parkway... Who's In?

02-17-2005, 01:00 AM
Lake Hefner Parkway is the prettiest stretch of highway in Oklahoma City, skirting Lake Hefner, which believe it or not was on Lifetime Movies over the weekend, featured in a scene from the motion picture 'Sam & Janet', a Rick Walker film shot in Oklahoma City.

While driving along the parkway, I noticed how much more enhanced the parkway would be if its barren grass-covered embankments were covered with those bright-green pine trees that were planted along 15th street in Edmond.

I was thinking of contacting Oklahoma City Beautiful about the idea, discussing details about the project. What do you guys think?

02-17-2005, 06:53 AM
Yes. We could do this one in a snap. IT is not like the Walk of Fame that will take months to build a proposal (if I can finally get people together to start it).

A tree lined freeway would look great. Especially overlooking Lake Hefner.

02-17-2005, 07:53 AM
I'd actually hate to block the view from the road of the lake. I think that's a unique stretch of highway because of the view, and a nice place to be stuck in traffic :D

02-17-2005, 09:13 AM
I think it's a fantastic idea for the embankments! The key would be find financial support to plant and maintain the project.

Proactive Volunteer
02-17-2005, 09:30 AM
You will need to get approval from ODOT's Beautification Department before this project can happen. You will likely have to guarantee the capacity to maintain the project for 3 years. This includes the watering, pruning, fertilizing and mulching and you will have to guarantee tree replacement due to car damage, storm damage or just dying.

OKC Beautiful does all they do in the community with a volunteer board and 4 staff members. I think a call from you would be great as they can share with you how to implement a project like this.

Check out OKC Beautiful's new website at

02-17-2005, 10:30 AM
Guys, listen to Proactive Volunteer. She's in a position to know how things work on this matter. With her advice and possible interest by the mayor (clearly, he's reading this board), this is something you could get done. Think in terms of working within the current system (OKC Beautiful, Parks Dept., ODOT) and in terms of leveraging sponsorship opportunities (including possible involvement by the Centennial Commission) from a parkway that boasts some pretty impressive demographics.

One suggestion: all of the above agencies usually indicate they are understaffed for what they're trying to do. Just doing research on how similiar projects are done in other cities can be a big help.

02-17-2005, 10:39 AM
Up with Trees in Tulsa has covered almost every median and right of way for streets and highways in the Tulsa area with tree plantings. You might want to start there.

Proactive Volunteer
02-17-2005, 10:50 AM
Up with Trees in Tulsa has covered almost every median and right of way for streets and highways in the Tulsa area with tree plantings. You might want to start there.

I was told by ODOT that the reason Tulsa's Up With Trees has worked so well is that they had a different division head that managed their medians and interpreted their guidelines different than the division head in Oklahoma City.

Tulsa was very lucky for the difference in guideline interpretation!!

A first call to ODOT to check their current tree planting requirements will save a lot of time on this project.

02-17-2005, 02:28 PM
Thank you for the information, Proactive Volunteer. I will get in contact with Oklahoma City Beautiful and ODOT concerning this project.

In addition, Midtowner, making sure the view of Lake Hefner will not get blocked wil be a priority. Perhaps only the west embankments near the Britton overpass will get planted, but I'd like to see both sides of the parkway get planted from the Hefner Rd. overpass north to Memorial.

The east embankment of the parkway should be planted from the Grand Blvd. overpass for the entire duration of the parkway.

I'm no horticulturalist, but I'd like to see bright evergreen trees planted. No deciduous trees. Oklahoma City looks at enough deadwood during the winter. But, a variety wouldn't be a bad idea. If there needs to be some deciduous trees, I'd prefer Sycamore. They look pretty, even during winter.

Proactive Volunteer
02-17-2005, 03:55 PM
As your project proceeds, you may want to talk with the Neighborhood and Homeowner's Associations on the east side of the parkway and maybe get their buy in. They could bring a lot of volunteer and resource help. To locate who they are and their boundaries, talk with Neighborhood Alliance.

A funding idea, check out the OKC Community Foundation website at and look at the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and the Margaret Annis Boys Trust. Both of these grants give funding to beautification projects on public lands.

The OKC Planning Department has a new book on plants that thrive in Oklahoma City. It is called Putting Down Roots. The link is As you are planning the project, remember hot dry winds when choosing your trees. I grew up in Lakehurst which is on the east sid eof Hefner Parkway from Wilshire to almost Britton Road, and trust me, you want trees that can survive hot and dry conditions. Evergreens would be wonderful, but don't foget crepe myrtles for color, redbuds and other trees that can weather the conditions.

I like this could be a terrific project!! Keep us informed!!

02-17-2005, 11:12 PM
Thank you, Proactive Volunteer. I will be glad to keep you guys informed.

02-18-2005, 01:47 AM
Hey okcpulse, if you need any help with the project, let me know.

Also, loblolly pine trees grow pretty well in Oklahoma's climate. Weyerhaeuser has found great success growing them over the years in Southeastern Oklahoma.

02-18-2005, 02:39 AM
Thank you Patrick. I will probably be contacting you from time to time. I am going to try and sketch some renderings for Oklahoma City Beautiful, the Oklahoma City Garden Club, and ODOT.

BTW, I stopped blogging, as I am getting ready to launch my website. I recently updated my software to design a better look for the website. Hope to have it up and running March 14th.

Proactive Volunteer
02-18-2005, 08:16 AM
okcpulse, you may want to contact the Oklahoma Tree Bank as well. They have worked with ODOT on a few of the I-44 tree planting projects.

If you are a member of a Lions Club, Rotary, or any club that may be interested in the project, you may want to ask them if they would like to be involved.

02-18-2005, 06:36 PM
Excellent idea!! Let me know if I can help in any way. Trees would sure look good along the Parkway.

02-19-2005, 01:36 AM
Using evergreens would be the best option. Deciduous trees aren't very attractive during winter months. I've noticed that Lake Hefner looks bare from the highway. Adding trees along the stretch would be nice. Let me know if I can also help you.

okcpulse let us know when you've completed your website. I'll be interested to see it.

02-19-2005, 09:11 PM
I'm not necessarily oppose to using "deciduous" trees on the Lake Hefner Parkway. Cypress trees lose their leaves, but they're still nice trees. I think a mixture of various types of trees would be good. Including a good percentage of evergreen trees would maintain the beauty of the area during the winter months though.

Starting with some of the surrounding parks like Paw Park would be nice.

We may want to consider renovating some of the parks at Lake Hefner as well. The park near East Wharf isn't bad, but I'd like to see some improvements made at Stars and Stripes Park. Newer picnic tables, grill pits, etc. would be nice. Much of the playground equipment has been there since I was a child.

02-21-2005, 12:41 PM
Not to mention the restrooms at Stars and Stripes Park need to be razed and replaced with more modern, cleaner and accomodating facilities. The plaza overlooking the water also desperately needs a facelift.

02-24-2005, 07:27 PM
Add me to the list - I can dig a mean hole..... tell me when and where, I'll be there


03-14-2005, 10:38 PM
Anymore progress made on the beautification efforts on the Parkway? Has there been any thought given to planting the trees in the middle of the highway or would that block the view of the lake for those traveling northbound? And corporate sponsorship of some of these efforts would be easy to come by. Just look at what Chesapeake Energy has done near Belle Isle...absolutely fantastic. What about getting Dell to pitch in when they get settled in their new facilities. Trees would be a beautiful addition to I-44 south of I-40. Along the center stretch of the highway would just look amazing!

03-14-2005, 10:41 PM
That's a great idea... corporate sponsorship would be the best way to raise funds and interest...

Mr. Anderson, how would one approach Dell with this one?

Any suggestions?

03-14-2005, 10:49 PM
That's a great idea... corporate sponsorship would be the best way to raise funds and interest...

Mr. Anderson, how would one approach Dell with this one?

Any suggestions?

Contact the Dell foundation. I have the phone number sitting on my desk at the office.

03-15-2005, 12:10 AM
Although planting trees along the sides of the roadway is a good idea, planting trees in the medians could be a safety hazard. Hitting a tree at 65 mph is not a pleasant sight. Still, increasing the foliage along the Parkway is a good idea, anyway you cut it!

03-15-2005, 01:18 AM
bmrsnr, I have sent a letter to Oklahoma City Beautiful about getting the project going. I am awaiting on a response. I hope to have a response in the mail by the end of this week or the beginning of next week.

And yes, planting trees in the median would be awesome, but a safety hazard. This is why many interstates that wind through forests have extra wide tree-covered medians with plenty of clearance... something there is not room for in an urban area.