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Maple trees honored for Barlow connection

History lives on through Heritage program
by: Garth Guibord, Lloyd Musser imagines the many travelers these maple trees witnessed passing through the tollgate on the Barlow Road, which once sat between them.

Approximately 120 years ago, toll keeper Daniel Parker planted two bigleaf maple trees at his tollgate on the Barlow Road in Rhododendron. On Wednesday, April 4, those trees will be designated as Oregon State Heritage Trees by the Oregon Travel Information Council.

'Hopefully it will encourage a few more people to stop there and learn more about the Barlow Road,' said Molly McKnight, who works for the Clackamas County Forestry Program and nominated the trees for the honor. 'I stopped there a few times years and years ago, but I had no idea they had historical significance. When I started looking into their history and did a little poking around, I started to learn a lot more about them.'

The Heritage Tree program started in 1997 to recognize historically significant trees and stands of trees. By the end of this year, the program will include a total of 41 trees.

'It connects people with our historical roots,' said Jim Renner, Heritage Ttree program manager. 'People have a love of trees and an appreciation of history, and this is a nexus where the two come together.'

A replica of the original tollgate now stands between the 60-foot-tall maples, a native species to Oregon. The original was the western-most tollgate on the Barlow Road, which opened as a toll road in 1846. But the location might have been lost forever if Parker didn't put the maples there.

'Thank goodness Daniel Parker planted these trees, if he hadn't, remnants of the Barlow Road tollgate would probably be gone,' said Lloyd Musser, Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum curator, who will speak at the dedication ceremony. 'Manmade things disappear, and people don't recognize them. Those maples are tough; they just go on and on. Thank goodness nobody ever cut them down.'

The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 4, at the tollgate historic site in the highway wayside for the Pioneer Bridle Trailhead on Highway 26, a half mile east of Rhododendron. Parking will be available in the day-use area of Tollgate Campground, located between Rhododendron and the tollgate wayside.

For more information or for a Heritage Tree brochure and a list of all the Heritage Trees and their locations, please visit www.oregontic.com/heritage .


DID YOU KNOW?

Two other Heritage Trees are located close to Sandy. The Foster Lilac (dedicated in 1998) is in Eagle Creek at the Phillip Foster Farm on Highway 211. The Frank Lockyear Cedar Grove (dedicated in 2004) is in Estacada on Forest Service land off Highway 224.