Pow-Wow Tree, circa 1890. Courtesy Gladstone Historical Society


The Bigleaf Maple Tree (Acer macrophyllum), estimated to be over 230 years old, stands on land originally inhabited by the Clackamas and Multnomahs, who purportedly used the tree to mark the spot where tribal events – weddings, salmon feasts, and tribal councils – took place. The Pow-Wow Tree, as it is called locally, has such a strong association for area Native Americans that the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community, descendents of the area’s early inhabitants, have planted a sapling from the tree on their reservation. The sapling stands on the reservation as a memorial to Chief Wacheno, as Clackamas chief whose daughter married under the original maple.

The bigleaf maple, also known as the Oregon maple, is native to the state and ranges from California to British Columbia. It is one of the few commercial hardwoods native to the Pacific Northwest and is used primarily for specialty items, such as wood carvings. The bigleaf maple’s large canopy provides tremendous shade and a range of colors before shedding its leaves in the fall.


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