Tree Planters on Center Road on the Old Mission Peninsula | Brian Brooks Photo
Tree Planters on Center Road on the Old Mission Peninsula | Brian Brooks Photo
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Did you know that the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society has a Memorial Tree Committee? Why, yes, they do, and they’re looking for a few good spots to plant some trees.

Brian Brooks, who is part of the committee along with Laura Johnson and Jim Hall, says they are looking for locations to plant trees just beyond the road right-of-way, ideally along Center Road.

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He says they will consider other roads, but have a preference to complete Center Road first.

“Center Road was once lined with magnificent old maple trees, some over 100 years in age,” he says, adding that salt and disease has taken many of them down. “These trees provided shade for the horse teams to rest and get out of the summer sun.”

The Memorial Tree Project started in September 2000 under the direction of Leo and Rebecca (Tompkins) Nothstine. Since that time, more than 650 trees have been planted and nourished.

Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society plants trees on the Old Mission Peninsula
Trees planted at the corner of Center Road and Swaney Road in 2020; courtesy of the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society’s Memorial Tree Committee | Jane Boursaw Photo

Brian says they plant the trees outside the right-of-way so that they have more control over their care, as the Grand Traverse County Road Commission doesn’t have the rights to trim or cut them.

“We typically plant them in a line parallel to the road approximately 40 feet apart, and the property owner will need to agree to allow us to put a memorial plaque at the base of the tree, and also allow the team to occasionally care for the trees,” he says. “We work with our local Scout Troop 34, who graciously help us plant and care for the trees.”

The trees are planted at no cost to the landowner. If you have property or know someone who may have property where the group can plant four or more trees, contact Brian Brooks at [email protected] and include the landowner’s contact information.

However, if you would like to have a tree dedicated as a “Memorial Tree” in memory of a loved one, please submit this form along with a check for $75 to the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society. These contributions help the Historical Society continue to plant trees every year and beautify our roadways.

Fall Colors on the Old Mission Peninsula; Center Road looking north from Old Mission Tavern | Jane Boursaw Photo
Center Road looking north from Old Mission Tavern | Jane Boursaw Photo

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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  1. Do you have a list of type of trees that you are planting? We have been replacing street trees in our community for many years to replace those impacted by the Dutch Elm, Ash Boher, etc. disease. The Bradford Pear had been one type that we have planted. Concerns have arisen that these Pear trees are considered “invasive” and the question is if this is a proper concern. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    • The OMPHS Tree Committee has planted trees along the roadways of Old Mission Peninsula since 2000. We have had the best success with maples, and diversify by using a wide variety of species of maples. Maples are all we plant today.

    • Hi Tom-
      We were offered some Bradford Pears last year and when I asked the site manager (our community library) if she wanted them and she said no, the were invasive so I did some research and indeed found that out so we will not do Bradford Pears. I am quite sure the city of Traverse City planted Bradford’s in town before they were known to be invasive, luckily most of those are along streets were the seeds cannot take.

      • Thanks for this information Brian. We have been planting Braford/Cleveland Select in our community as street trees since 2001, starting with a Street Enhancement Project with MDOT on Highway M-46. All of the plantings are all in controlled maintained landscape areas and we have not had any issues. I did come across and MSU Extension article, published several years, advising at that time, they were not considered invasive in Michigan due to cooler temperatures. They are beautiful in the spring when the blossom and also in the fall when their leaves change color. Time will tell.


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