Friday, August 27, 2010

Check out this "Trail Tree" on a tract of land for sale in Perry County, Alabama

Yesterday as I was out showing a 13 acre tract of land for sale that joins the Talladega National Forest in Perry County, Alabama, my customer and I came upon what I perceive to be a "trail tree".

Trail trees were reportedly used by native Americans to mark travel routes, establish local boundaries, or point to food, water, or shelter. They were shaped by lashing or bending a small sapling (usually oak) in the direction they wanted it to face.

There is a small stream roughly 50 yards from where this tree is located. I was elated to find it standing in the woods. They are fairly rare in Perry County, which is in the Black Belt of Alabama. I saw them more as a teenager in the hills of north Alabama near the Tennessee state line.

This tree doesn't add any monetary value to the tract, but it does make you wonder why it is here. If it isn't old enough to have been shaped by native Americans, could it have been used by local troops in the Civil War to mark a hideout or some other cache of supplies? Maybe some young boys heard stories from their grandfather about bending trees to make signposts and they experimented on this one. Whatever the case, it is a neat find and a part of history most people never see anymore.
I reported this tree to the Mountain Stewards Trail Tree Project and hopefully it will be added to their data base and mapping of trail trees located throughout the US. It is pretty cool to find a piece of folklore, and perhaps we will identify and learn more about these historic harbingers.

Posted via email from Jonathan Goode- Alabama Land Agent


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