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  1. #1
    Registered User Uncle Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Native American Marker Trees along the AT

    Hello,

    I need some help locating these two trees please. meaning I need the GPS cooridinates for each one. I'm trying to get them added to a national data base of marker trees and need the GPS coordinates to do so. I didn't have a GPS or digital camera when I hiked by them so I don't have an exact location.

    If any one has them I would appreciate your help very much. The first one is located right on the trail south of Stecoah Gap and the second is just a few feet off the trail north of Blood Mountain I believe. Thanks.
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    Uncle Wayne

  2. #2

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    Any Native American marker trees would have to be pretty old, and consequently pretty big. The Trail of Tears was about 180 years ago.

  3. #3

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    It is highly unlikely any of those trees still exist today. Although the trees pictured look strange, natural forces can cause that kind of growth and those trees are likely less then 50 years old.
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    There is a marker tree on a trail I hike regularly, even this morning. It set right at a modern section marker. I'm thinking it might have been placed/grown there by early surveyors but a call to the county engineers office knows nothing about it.

  5. #5
    Registered User Tuxhiker's Avatar
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    Very interesting topic! I have never heard of marker trees before but I do pay attention to trees with unusual shapes. Thanks for bringing up this topic!

  6. #6
    Registered User Uncle Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    Any Native American marker trees would have to be pretty old, and consequently pretty big. The Trail of Tears was about 180 years ago.
    Yes that's right. Any of those that are less than approximately 180 years old are called descendent marker trees because they were formed / shaped by descendents of those forced from their homes by the removal. I've noticed they are usually not shaped as accurately as those of their forefathers. I've also seen evidence that size doesn't always equal age especially after the trees are modified. Thanks for your input.
    Uncle Wayne

  7. #7
    Registered User Uncle Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    It is highly unlikely any of those trees still exist today. Although the trees pictured look strange, natural forces can cause that kind of growth and those trees are likely less then 50 years old.
    Not true, there are hundreds of the "marker trees" scattered across the nation. As far as the age of these trees, I'm an old man, I took these pictures in the 1970's so the pictures are almost 50 years old. The trees much older. Thanks for your reply though.
    Uncle Wayne

  8. #8

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    Fascinating topic! Wish I had something to add. I will be following this thread.. Best of luck. Wonder if Tipi Walter has any info on this?

  9. #9

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    There is no way to know for sure if an unusually deformed tree, of the appropriate age, is a Native American marker tree, or if it was caused by something, or someone, else. I’ve seen trees like these that I knew were less than 50 years old. The Appalachians were heavily logged between 1880 and 1920, leaving very few old growth trees.

  10. #10

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    "Trail marker trees" are a myth. Just weather damaged trees that city folks weren't equipped to understand.
    Do you really think Native people needed to bend trees to find their way on land they'd lived on for many hundreds of years?
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    "Trail marker trees" are a myth. Just weather damaged trees that city folks weren't equipped to understand.
    Do you really think Native people needed to bend trees to find their way on land they'd lived on for many hundreds of years?
    Maybe, if they never traveled to a particular place before. People hiking the AT for the first time follow the White blazes. Driving to a city you have never been to, you follow the road signs.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    Maybe, if they never traveled to a particular place before. People hiking the AT for the first time follow the White blazes. Driving to a city you have never been to, you follow the road signs.
    Didn't they mostly use the rivers? Settlement next to the river, hunting grounds in the nearby forest. I believe there were some well defined paths which got turned into roads.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Didn't they mostly use the rivers? Settlement next to the river, hunting grounds in the nearby forest. I believe there were some well defined paths which got turned into roads.
    Rivers would work for north-south travel, but they also traveled east-west across mountains. Daniel Boone traveled through the Cumberland Gap to parts of Kentucky and Tennessee, following old Indian routes.

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    I take pics of interesting trees. This one is on the AT in SNP. But I agree that to think they were all navigation aids is a stretch.FB_IMG_1605217407652.jpg

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    "Trail marker trees" are a myth. Just weather damaged trees that city folks weren't equipped to understand.
    Do you really think Native people needed to bend trees to find their way on land they'd lived on for many hundreds of years?
    This. Wild that the myth persists.

  16. #16

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    Trees that take a sharp horizontal bend a few feet off the ground, then shoot straight up again, are often trail trees. It was the Native Americans used this shape to point the way to everything from fresh water to encampments, or from the right place to cross a river to a more accessible terrain

    ..............Now that's what I call a trail marker tree :-)


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  17. #17

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    You could core it and see how old it is.

    Second picture looks like the tree on the right had its leader or a main branch pushed into the tree on the left. It didn't alter the upward directional growth of the left tree because the right tree was leaning along the bole somewhere under the main leader when the damage occurred. As the left tree grew larger (wider) the two trees grew together. You can see the bark from the left tree encapsulating the one on the right. Also, the trunk is fatter above the intersection point, it's possible the two leaders grew into each other. You'd see a double pith above that point if that happened.
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  18. #18

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    First pic, something came down on the tree and tore the bark off that face, never fully recovering on that section. Drove the leader down and may have stayed on top of it for a bit of time. The damaged leader may have grown into the tree on the right. There appears to be a seam connecting the two. The damaged tree sent up another leader. Hard to say what came down on it, but the tree itself is next to a big rock face.

    The damage to the tree would be inconsistent with the intent of the practice IMHO.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
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  19. #19
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    I'm a Tree lover. Have you hugged your Tree today?

  20. #20
    Registered User Uncle Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    Do you really think Native people needed to bend trees to find their way on land they'd lived on for many hundreds of years?
    Yes, for many reasons; Ceremonial, healing sites, marking trails, burials etc.
    Last edited by Uncle Wayne; 01-17-2021 at 08:14.
    Uncle Wayne

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