Culturally modified trees (CMTs) are cultural resources and are recorded as archaeological sites. In western North America CMTs are created for a variety of purposes including but not limited to:
- peeled for bark for basketry, textiles, and construction materials such as house planks;
- peeled or tapped for sap, pitch, edible inner cambium, and medicinal purposes;
- trees carved with symbols, letters, or other markings known as arborglyphs;
- trained branches to mark direction, important locations;
- boundary trees marking property lines or blazes marking trails or roads.
The Oregon Heritage Tree Committee is proud to have participated in a training video developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) as mitigation for adverse effects to culturally modified trees impacted during hazardous tree and debris removal for the 2020 Wildfires. The video focuses on the cultural importance of CMTs, how to identify and document CMTs, and describes ways to respect and treat CMTs.
Check out minute 5.2 to see the Willamette River Cable Trees, Oregon’s 75th Heritage Tree stand, highlighted.