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Agriculture Today

Texas Famous Tree nominees invited

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June 8, 2011 | 3,101 views | Post a comment

BRECKENRIDGE -- Nestled in the midst of the hot, dry, wind-swept plains of Stephens County sits a gnarled old oak that has been providing refuge for passing travelers for more than a century.

So the story goes, the Half-Way Oak -- which received its name because it’s planted midway between Breckenridge and Cisco and Ranger to the south -- might even have served as a rest stop for infamous characters like Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp.

On April 29, the Texas Forest Service recognized the tree’s storied past by formally designating it as one of the state’s famous trees.

“It is said that every tree tells a story, especially those that witnessed significant events on the Texas frontier,” said Texas Forest Service Forester Gretchen Riley, who oversees the program. “The Half-Way Oak is a tangible representation of this history and we’re lucky to still have it.”

The Famous Trees of Texas are an elite group of trees that witnessed exciting periods and events in Texas’ frontier history. The program started in 1970, when 81 trees received the designation and were memorialized in a book -- Famous Trees of Texas -- published by the Texas Forest Service.

Nominations can be made by the general public through the Famous Trees of Texas website and will be reviewed by a steering committee. To be considered famous, a tree must be: located at or near the site of a significant state, county, or community event, and must have been alive at the time of the event; directly connected to one of the 18 historical topics listed on the Famous Trees of Texas website; recognized by a Texas Historical Commission marker or identified in historical records, newspaper accounts, or photos; and in reasonably good health and likely to remain for the foreseeable future.

For more information, contact Gretchen Riley, Forester, at 979-458-6605 or griley@tfs.tamu.edu .

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