Developers in Skiatook make a unique discovery while clearing the way for a hiking trail. Officials at Cross Timbers, a lake-side development, say the hiking trail is in the middle of a forest filled with ancient trees. The News On 6â€™s Chris Wright reports many of these trees have already been around for hundreds of years, and developers are taking steps to make sure they stay here for much longer.
They may not look that ancient, but the oak trees began growing on the shores of Lake Skiatook long before boaters began spending their weekends there.
"A lot of these trees are targeted for firewood. I don't think people realize how ancient they are," said Greg Berche with the Corps of Engineers.
Greg Berche of the Corps of Engineers has identified many of the ancient post-oaks. To do that he first takes core samples of the tree, then determines its age by measuring the circumference of the sample.
Officials say because the growth rate of the trees in so slow, just by looking at them, most people would have no idea that they are so old.
"After aging the trees we realized they are two, 300 years old," Berche said.
The ancient trees will now be preserved, and finally receive some attention. They are featured in a new four and a half mile hiking trail next to Cross Timbers in Skiatook. The two-year-old development already features a marina and restaurant, and plans for a golf course and conference center are in the works. Developers hope the ancient post-oaks will attract nature lovers to the area, as well as provide a history lesson.
"We'll not only preserve and protect the trees, but we'll also tell history,â€ Cross Timbers Developer Ron Howell said. â€œThese trees correlate with the history of our country.â€
Howell points out that France still owned this part of the country when these trees first sprouted from the ground. But it would be tough to associate a historical event with the oldest oak found so far. It dates back to the mid 16th century, and hopefully, it's just entering its prime.
In order to qualify as an ancient post-oak, a tree has to be at least 200 years old. If you're interested in taking a look at the ancient trees you can contact Cross Timbers at 918-288-2332.