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Bent trees - Native American trail markers that are still viewable today.

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    • Bent trees - Native American trail markers that are still viewable today.

      A very cool article about a piece of living history. I know I have come across these but did not know what they were at the time.

      Article is below, but click on the link for photos of the trees.
      m.roadtrippers.com/blog/myster…ve-american-trail-markers

      Mysterious bent trees are actually Native American trail markers | Stories | Roadtrippers

      Next time you go hiking through the forest keep an eye out for some pretty strangely-shaped trees. These trees are quite unique in that they bend in very unnatural angles. Sure, some trees are just weirdly-shaped, but there's something special about these bent trees.

      Native Americans would bend trees in order to create trail markers that formed an early routing system, which served multiple purposes. From indicating that water and food was nearby, to warning travelers of rough country ahead, these landmarks were important features in navigating the early Americas.

      At Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado, for instance, you'll find lots of Ponderosa pine trees that were bent for thsi purpose:

      These trail trees point towards Pikes Peak, which the local Ute Indians believed to be a sacred site. But not every marker tree is so easily spotted. And in fact, looking for a strangely shaped tree isn’t quite enough, since each tribe created slightly different markers. Because most people don’t realize what these trees truly are, they are easily overlooked and can fall victim to development, disaster or disease with no one caring for them. Because trail trees are roughly 150 to 200 years old, many of them won’t be with us for very much longer. We may still be able to see this original roadmap of our country, but the window to do so is closing. - American Forests

      The practice of bending trees to use as trail markers is by no means confined to Colorado. In fact, all across the country you can find bent trees that were used by Native American tribes to serve as permanent trail markers. Mountain Stewards have compild a large database that includes over a thousand bent trees in 39 states. You can help out too! If you happen to run across a bent tree, snap a pic, note its lcoation and shoot it over to Mountain Stewards.

      These trees represent an important part of Native American history and many groups are currently working to help protect them, such as the Dallas Historic Tree Coalition and the Great Lakes Trail Marker Tree Society.
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    • OzJacko wrote:

      WanderingStovie wrote:

      I was thinking about this on my Springer hike. I saw some bent trees, but they were not that old.

      My thoughts too. Even if early settlers copied, it would seem reasonable to say any tree less than 150 years old is not bent for this reason.


      75 years would be a reasonable time. Mountain people copied the Native Americans.
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    • Rasty wrote:

      OzJacko wrote:

      WanderingStovie wrote:

      I was thinking about this on my Springer hike. I saw some bent trees, but they were not that old.

      My thoughts too. Even if early settlers copied, it would seem reasonable to say any tree less than 150 years old is not bent for this reason.


      75 years would be a reasonable time. Mountain people copied the Native Americans.
      Changes Daily→ ♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫ ♪♫♪♫♪♫ ← Don't blame me. It's That Lonesome Guitar.
    • What, they couldn't just carry around some white paint and a rectangle stencil? And what about LNT? THEY DID IT ALL WRONG!


      Serioiusly--gag--though, very cool article. Thanks for sharing!
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    • i have a cousin that is greatly into history that told me about Marker Trees years ago. In the East White Oak was used because they live so long. The tree at Bly Gap is a classic, and I saw a few others along the trail further north. West of Pittsburgh, is a 200 yr Bald Cypress marking a spring. The Cypress is not native to PA.
    • SandyofPA wrote:

      i have a cousin that is greatly into history that told me about Marker Trees years ago. In the East White Oak was used because they live so long. The tree at Bly Gap is a classic, and I saw a few others along the trail further north. West of Pittsburgh, is a 200 yr Bald Cypress marking a spring. The Cypress is not native to PA.

      Would that be Racoon Creek Park?
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    • WanderingStovie wrote:

      SandyofPA wrote:

      i have a cousin that is greatly into history that told me about Marker Trees years ago. In the East White Oak was used because they live so long. The tree at Bly Gap is a classic, and I saw a few others along the trail further north. West of Pittsburgh, is a 200 yr Bald Cypress marking a spring. The Cypress is not native to PA.

      Would that be Racoon Creek Park?

      The cypress is in Carnegie, one of my husbands Ham radio buddys lives in a house that was built next to the spring. The tree has gotten so big it touches his porch but he is not allowed to trim it in any way because it is a historical tree. The squirrels love to use the tree to get into his attic. The house is over 100 years old.