Warriors Path’s Marty Silver says at least 1, 000 trees will be planted at Saturday’s Adopt-A-Tree. David Grace photo.
KINGSPORT — Marty Silver, park naturalist at Warriors Path State Park, estimates that at least a thousand trees are planted every year during the park’s Adopt-A-Tree event.
“If you go over to the pool parking lot and look down toward the main campground off to the right, you’ll see the first batch of trees that were planted the very first year we did this. This event has become a chance for the young people — and the young at heart — to come and help us plant the future and to re-leaf Northeast Tennessee,” Silver said. “What we’re doing is, we’re planting future forests. Each tree that’s planted means that much more oxygen and shade and shelter for wildlife.”
This year’s Adopt-A-Tree will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and will run until all the trees are gone.
As an added bonus, for each tree seedling an individual plants at the park, he or she will also get a seedling to take home.
“They’re all native species and they’re all ones that grow well in our area,” Silver said.
Although hundreds of trees are planted each year at the park, Silver says, unfortunately not all of them survive.
Of the approximately 1,000 trees planted last year, Silver says beaver ate probably about 70 percent of them.
“Last year we tried to plant some trees over near Duck Island where we’d had some erosion problems,” he said. “But, unfortunately, the species we chose, the beaver thought were delicious. I guess it’s OK, though, because we inadvertently provided some short-term beaver habitat.”
Planting additional trees in the park brings numerous benefits, Silver says.
“The trees create less area for our staff to have to mow. They save on fossil fuel resources. They provide more diverse habitats for our wildlife,” he said.
The number of people who come out to help with the planting varies each year, Silver said.
“It depends on the weather and there are so many things going on this time of year. Some years we get several hundred volunteers and some years we only get a couple of dozen. We’ve had several different service clubs in the area come and assist and some service clubs from area high schools have come helped before, too. It’s really nice to have a lot of assistance when we do this,” he said.
Any service groups interested in helping out on Saturday are encouraged to call the park at (423) 239-8531.
“If you’re coming just to plant, just come. If you’re coming as a group, it would be helpful to us to have a heads up just so we can be prepared for you,” Silver said.
Digging tools will be provided, but Silver says you can also bring your own tools if you like.
And, he adds, dress for the weather and be prepared to get your hands dirty.
Once you enter the park, follow the signs from the entrance to the tree distribution location.
Warriors Path, located at 490 Hemlock Road in Kingsport, is a 950-acre park situated on the shores of the Patrick Henry Reservoir on the Holston River.