On Friday, April 21, Hopewell Township Public Works team members Jeff Troutman and Albert Re installed a new sign memorializing our Salem Oak seedling in Woolsey Park.
In 2019, a 500-year-old oak tree in the Salem, NJ, the Salem Oak, died. Before it fell, it was well known and much beloved in New Jersey. It was one of the state’s largest oak trees, approximately 100 feet tall, with a trunk circumference of 22 feet and a crown of 104 feet. It was much larger and longer-lived than the typical oak, which commonly live 200-300 years. Legend has it that in 1675 Quaker John Fenwick signed a peace treaty with the Lenni Lenape tribe under the tree and founded Salem, NJ. The Salem Oak was located in the Salem Friends Burial Ground, and the community of Quakers cared for the tree from then on.
To commemorate this historical tree, foresters in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Big and Heritage Tree Conservation program collected acorns and grew seedlings. They then distributed a seedling to each of the state’s 565 municipalities. Lovingly nurtured by then-chair of the Environmental Commission, Nora Sirbaugh, Hopewell Township’s seedling was planted in a place of prominence in Woolsey Park by EC member Jim Gambino and Public Works Foreman Chris Swanson in late 2021.
Hopewell Township’s Salem Oak is doing really well! And it now has a sign and its own webpage! Township staff look forward to the day when our Salem Oak provides beauty and shade in Woolsey Park.
For more information about Hopewell Township’s Salem Oak, go to www.hopewelltwp.org/SalemOak
For more information about NJ’s Salem Oak program, go to https://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2019/19_0092.htm#:~:text=The%20oak%20was%20also%20known,branches%2C%20signed%20a%20peace%20treaty
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