Friday, June 20, 2008

Witness Trees

Monday, I had the good fortune to be in the field with a former land surveyor. We were practicing navigation using GPS units. No matter how much time I spend in my beloved Rocky Mountain National Park, I continue to learn new things about its natural wonders.

As we located surveyor land monuments from 1925, we also came across Witness Trees. This was the first time I became aware of their existence and purpose. On many public lands, especially in the western US, land surveyors blazed trees recording their positions relative to section corners. If the surveyor’s monument was destroyed or removed from an area, these Witness Trees can be used to pinpoint the corner location.

Out of curiosity I googled “Witness Trees” and came across an interesting web site that you should checkout. It contains information about a Documentary IMAX Film on Witness Trees. In this case the focus is on Arborglyphs or markings etched into trees (rather than letters or numbers being etched into the belly of the tree). Be sure to watch the slideshow of Sandy Corley’s Witness Tree installations. Click here to go to