Know of a famous tree? 9.17

Written by David Green.

Michigan’s Famous and Historical Trees Sought as Part of National Effort

The Michigan Forest Association, in conjunction with the Michigan Forestry and Parks Association and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is searching for famous and historic trees in Michigan.

 As part of a nationwide effort to locate and document these trees, the association plans to update its book “Michigan’s Famous and Historic Trees,” last published in 1976. 

“Many trees, due to their long life, are considered silent witnesses to history,” said Lynne Boyd, chief of the DNR’s Forest, Minerals and Fire Management Division.  “Many of Michigan’s famous trees have been lost to old age, storms or disease including the Old Council Tree in Emmet County, where chiefs of the local tribes held council.”

“Recording and preserving these wonderful living recorders of history is part of our culture and is important part of the heritage of Michigan,” said Kevin Sayers, coordinator of the DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

The categories of famous and historic trees which the Michigan Forest Association has adopted as established criteria for selection are as follows:

- Trees associated with notable people.

- Trees associated with the development of the nation.

- Trees associated with eminent educators and educational institutions.

- Trees associated with art and artists, literature and writers, law, music, science and the cultural life of the state.

- Trees associated with churches and religion.

- Trees associated with early forestry and conservation.

- Trees with distinctive scenic and esthetic associations.

- Trees historic or famous because of unusual size or age. Most trees in this category will already be on record in The American Forestry

Association's Social Register of Big Trees. The Michigan Botanical Club administers a similar program in Michigan.  Visit:

- Trees that have gained prominence due to unusual form or botanical characteristics.

Trees such as the James Oliver Curwood tree in Owosso, Dr. Dorsch’s Gingko in Monroe, the Republican Oaks in Jackson, and Hudson Motor Car Pine are all examples of Michigan’s famous or historic trees.

Anyone wishing to nominate a tree for recognition should provide the following information:

- Trees species (if known)

- Exact location

- Reason for historical significance

- Present landowner (if known)

- Photos (if available)

- Contact information

Nominations may be submitted via e-mail to [email protected] or by writing to the Michigan Forest Association at 6120 South Clinton Trail, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827. 

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.

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