Ancient Tree in Peril
Ephraim historic peace treaty tree no longer safe
By James Tilson
Jan. 18, 2018
EPHRAIM—The Peace Tree in Ephraim Pioneer Park, which stands as a memorial of the peace treaty made between Chief Black Hawk of the Timpanogos tribe in 1866, is in need of emergency maintenance before it falls over, imperiling park visitors or even the nearby Maverik station.
According to Chad Parry, Ephraim City public works director, the tree has been dead for about 20 years, and recent deterioration threatens the viability of its current location.
Parry warned, “The wood is deteriorating, and if it falls, it will be beyond help.”
Parry suggested several options for how to deal with the historic tree.
He wanted at the very least to trim off the top-most limbs to reduce the risk of the tree falling. The wood from the limbs could be preserved as mementos of the tree.
Parry also suggested that the trunk could be saved by placing it in a concrete foundation to act as a “totem pole.”
Another option was to plant another tree in front of the current location to preserve the location of the historic tree.
Although Parry usually performs routine maintenance on city property without consulting the city council, he explained that due to the historic nature of the tree he should request direction from the council.
Councilman John Scott suggested the issue be put to the citizens of Ephraim through the city newsletter in order to get feedback from the public.
Councilman Greg Boothe opined that if the tree were used to create memorabilia, then local schoolchildren could be involved in the creation of the memorabilia. The schoolchildren would then be educated on the history of the city and its original settlers.
City Manager Brant Hanson supported the idea that the top limbs of the tree could be removed and the trunk could be left in place, properly fortified, to preserve the historic marker.
Mayor Richard Squire said if public input were requested, then an end date would be needed so ameliorative measures could take place in time to save the tree from falling over.
To elicit useful input from the public, Hanson added that the public should be presented with three or four options instead of allowing the submission of a myriad different suggestions.
The council approved soliciting public input regarding the fate of the tree and directed city staff to recommend the options for public comment.