Historic Arkansas · Nature · Travel

Native American Trail Marker Trees

While searching for monarch butterflies at Camp Robinson Special Use Area near Mayflower, AR on Monday, I happened to run across a Native American Trail Marker Tree. I went back Tuesday afternoon and found at least one more plus two more that may be marker trees.

The tree I found Monday is close to a dry creek bed. Nowadays, it only has water after a significant rain but who knows what it actually looked like before Lake Conway was built. I’m not sure if the second one I found is actually a marker tree. It’s about 50 feet or less from the first one, just across the creek bed, and although it’s bent I’m not really sure if it’s because it was a marker tree or if mother nature bent it during a storm. The third one is just the remains of a bent tree, or limb, and not very big. The only reason I think it could be a trail marker tree is the knobby ends of the bends look man-made but it’s really kind of small to be a marker tree. The fourth and last one I found is near the top of the ridge right up the road from the others.

Native Amercian’s used to bend the tree to mark the trails they used. The way the tree was marked would indicate nearby water and food or convey warnings of danger or rough traveling ahead.

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