Park Begins Crowdsourced, Nationwide Search For Large Trees
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. ”
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.
Did You Know?
At the time of English settlement, the native community in what is today Saugus was led by a woman known only as the “Great Squaw Sachem”. It was not uncommon for a woman to take the lead as sachem after her husband died. Our squaw sachem had several contemporaries; 3 in Connecticut, 2 in Rhode Island and 1 in Massachusetts. What did the colonists think of this practice?