Made in the shade. That’s how Wasatch Back Trees, now ReLEAF UTAH, came into being. Founder Jason Barto stood in the baking hot sun at Kamas Fiesta Days, in 2006, and felt just how much the city park needed trees. In 2012, he funneled his passion into a nonprofit dedicated to tree awareness and tree health. Tree planting and maintenance projects by the Kamas Valley Lions Club helped launch the first work of Wasatch Back Trees.
Since 2007, Barto has overseen plantings at two schools, seven parks and at the Varga Arboretum, a component of Utah Botanical Gardens.
He has written the shade tree protection ordinances for two cities which was the foundation for Tree City USA recognition.
In 2012, Barto received the Forest Stewardship Achievement Award from the Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands (FFSL).
In 2014, he advised a project for two eagle scout candidates. With successful Summit County RAP Recreation and FFSL Community Forestry Partnership Grant proposals,they planted 34 trees and made numerous other tree care improvements at Francis City Park. The eagle scout candidates were awarded the Utah Community Forestry Council’s Citizen Forester of the Year.
He also advised the Wasatch High School Envirothon team which took state in 2015 and went on to do well at nationals. They were recognized by the UCFC as Citizen Foresters of the Year.
To show its thanks, Summit County declared February 10th, 2016 as Jason Barto Day. Jason’s motto: Trees are the answer.
Barto serves as board chairman for the UCFC. His favorite trees are the Burr Oak and the Japanese Tree Lilac.
In 2017, Wasatch Back Trees decided to grow its boundaries to reach outside of the Wasatch Back. With this growth came a name change to ReLEAF UTAH in order to better exemplify our services. Around the same time, the board of Uinta Headwaters RC&D Council (our fiscal sponsor) decided that it was in their best interest as well to merge into ReLEAF UTAH.
Jason honors Pepper Provenzano, Jeff Ward, Dana Karcher, Kelly Washburn, Meridith Perkins, Andy Hillman, Walt Warriner, Steve Shultz, Owen Croi, and Paul Ries, who have inspired ReLEAF UTAH to become what we are today.
ReLEAF UTAH supports local Arbor Day celebrations and the celebration of Neighborwoods month in October with Love Your Trees and Community Tree Planting projects. We applaud Park City, Francis, Coalville as Tree City USA members.
Love of trees inspires all of the work we do at ReLEAF UTAH.
We hope you will come play with us!