• Saugus Iron Works Panorama

    Saugus Iron Works

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

Park Begins Crowdsourced, Nationwide Search For Large Trees

Promo for Tree Search
NPS/Jeff R. Clow

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News Release Date: June 30, 2014
Contact: Jonathan Parker, 978-210-4245

SAUGUS, M.A. – True love is hard to find; but large, straight trees are even harder to find for the staff at Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site. The park’s carpenters, contractors and volunteers have been searching for ten months to locate suitable white oak trees to complete the construction of five large waterwheels – to no avail. The lack of suitable trees has recently placed the waterwheel project in serious jeopardy, prompting the park to begin an online campaign to crowdsource a nationwide search for information to help locate the perfect set of trees.

“We’ve been working with an excellent timber contractor over the last ten months to scour the northeast for possible trees, but they’ve located nothing suitable to-date,” said Tim Thornhill, Chief of Maintenance. “There’s no question our tree specifications are challenging. We need five white oak trees that are straight as an arrow with a minimum trunk diameter of 34” and a minimum height of 28’. We know these trees are out there somewhere – we just need help locating them."

The trees will be crafted into the rotating central shaft and hub of each of five wooden waterwheels. Recently a stand of 35 white oaks were located and harvested in Crane, Indiana to be used for repairs of the historic USS Constitution in Boston, MA – a project just a few miles from the Iron Works. In past years the park has had success working with various timber contractors and the U.S. Forest Service to locate the trees, but success has been fleeting in 2014.

“At this point we’re putting out a nationwide APB [all points bulletin] for any information on possible trees,” said Superintendent Michael Quijano-West. “Working waterwheels are vital components of our park and the visitor experience at the Iron Works. Without these trees our waterwheels don’t turn, our iron making machinery doesn’t move and our visitors are left with a diminished experienced in the park. We’re now asking the public to provide us with tips and information to help us find these trees. ”

The National Park Service has set up a special webpage to collect information on potential trees at go.nps.gov/treesearch . Any information, tip or advice is welcomed – and park rangers are encouraging people to spread the word of the search through social media.

Note: Tree donations are not being accepted at this time – the National Park Service is only asking for information on prospective trees. Do not cut, harvest, purchase or donate any trees.

Desired Tree Specifications:

White Oak, Straight, 34” minimum diameter, 28’ minimum height.

 

 
Shaft-Example_2
An Example Shaft at Saugus Iron Works
 
Current-Waterwheel-Construction_1
New Wheel Construction Underway

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