EDITOR’S NOTE: This spring, the Manitoulin Nature Club launched a Notable Trees of Manitoulin (NTOM) initiative to catalogue significant trees of Manitoulin Island. The club is seeking individuals to nominate trees that are important to them or that are in some way unique. Early surveyors documented trees at the imaginary corners and angles of parcels of land to mark boundaries and called them ‘witness trees.’ This distinction is also used to describe trees present at key historical events or events specific to a particular person such as a wedding or engagement. If there is a ‘witness tree’ in your family’s history, this would be a welcome nomination.
Notable trees can include notable specimens because of their size, form, shape, beauty, age, colour, rarity, genetic constitute or other distinctive features. They can also include living relics that display evidence of cultural modification by aboriginal or non-aboriginal people including having strips of bark or knot-green wood removed, test hole cuts made to determine soundness, furrows cut to collect pitch or sap or blazes to mark a trail. As well prominent community landmark trees, trees associated with local folklore, myths, legends or traditions or specimens associated with an historical person, place or event also qualify for nomination.
The Expositor will be following this initiative and will be highlighting a selection of these nominated trees and sharing the special stories behind them.
Anyone wishing to nominate a NTOM or wishing more information about the project can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Notable Trees, P.O. Box 1006, Little Current, ON, P0P 1K0.
MISERY BAY—Mary Hastings of St. Louis, Missouri has been coming to Manitoulin since the ‘80s with her husband Jim to his family’s Lake Kagawong home (which has been in the Hastings family for 60 years).
“About 9-10 years ago we started volunteering at the Misery Bay Provincial Park and joined the Friends of Misery Bay (FOMB),” said Ms. Hastings. “I’ve led hikes for several years and now we volunteer at the visitors centre on weekends throughout the summer.”
“I decided to nominated the striped maple tree because it is not a well known or common tree on Manitoulin,” she shared. “It is tucked away right next to the visitors centre so individuals who can’t make the trail can see it too.”
“Misery Bay is a special place on Manitoulin,” Ms. Hastings said. “It is beautiful and there is so much to see and learn from the nature and wildlife there.”
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) the striped maple (acer pensylvanicum) grows in central Ontario, from Toronto, east to Ottawa and north to Sault Ste. Marie, as well as the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin. It is also known as moosewood and moose maple.
It is a small deciduous understory tree, growing between 5-10 metres tall with a trunk up to 20 cm in diameter. It is distinct because of its green and white striped bark. The tree features large, wide leaves with three main lobes and its flowers and seeds hang in long clusters which mature in the fall.