Moon Tree is a young Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir, raised from a seed carried to the moon by Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa in 1971. I just love this story: Moon Tree – an Oregon Heritage Tree in the Oregon State Capital State Park
‘The story begins in 1953 when a man named Stuart Roosa, a native of Oklahoma, took a job as a US Forest Service smokejumper, a firefighter who would parachute into the wilderness to fight forest fires. Roosa came to love the forests of Oregon, a love that he would have the rest of his life. Later, Stuart Roosa became an Air Force test pilot and eventually returned to Oregon in the 1960s to train in the moon-scape like craters of Central Oregon.
‘He was destined to become an astronaut and was scheduled to fly on Apollo 14. In those days every Apollo astronaut was permitted to take a few small personal things into space with them. What they chose varied greatly. Alan Shepard chose golf balls, John Young on Gemini 3, took a corned beef sandwich. Stuart Roosa took tree seeds. This wasn’t just a publicity stunt; it was a science project too. Scientists wanted to know what would happen to the seeds if they went to the Moon. Would they sprout when they came back? So when Apollo 14 launched in 1971, nearly 500 tree seeds of various species were tucked away in astronaut Roosa’s personal property kit. Roosa didn’t walk on the moon since he commanded the orbiting space module, but the tree seeds did orbit the moon 34 times.
‘Upon their return to earth, many seeds were propagated and the seedlings planted in celebration of America’s bicentennial. A Loblolly Pine was planted at the White House, and trees were planted in Brazil, Switzerland, and presented to the Emperor of Japan, among others.
‘Unfortunately, adequate records were not maintained at the time, so we don’t know where all the moon trees were planted. Only about 50 of them are presently accounted for, including six planted in Oregon. I’m researching their locations.
- Pseudotsuga menziesii
- Approx. height: 63′
- Age: 31 years
- Circumference: 19″
- Dedicated on: April 11, 2003
Visit Salem and the Willamette Valley Bed and Breakfasts of the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild. Plan a few days to explore the beautiful Riverfront Park, the state capitol, museums, and other historic sites well worth seeing. With over 40 city parks, Salem also has plenty of open space especially near the Willamette River.
Lose oneself in Oregon’s rich history in the Willamette Valley on a scenic day trip from our Willamette Valley bed and breakfasts.
April celebrates Arbor Day and Earth Day
Arbor Day, much like Earth Day, is a holiday that celebrates nature. Its purpose is to encourage people to plant trees and this year the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild will take the opportunity to recognizes our unique, magnificent trees throughout the month of April. Many of these trees, but not all, have been recognized as Oregon Heritage Trees.
Oregon Heritage Trees – Trees that Tell an Historic Story
Oregon has a vast amount of ancient trees across the state that are reminders of not only the their longevity but as their importance to the environment and our Oregon Heritage. Many have been recognize by the Oregon Travel Information Council in their Oregon Heritage Tree program.
These Trees Tell Stories
‘Honored groves, single trees or groups of trees have something in common with one another no matter what the species: they are trees that tell a story; trees that confound and astound; trees that educate both Oregonians and visitors about significant people or events from the past; trees that have survived natural disasters or stand as silent sentries to the passage of time. And that’s only a small part of what makes an Oregon Heritage Tree compelling.’
Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild is ready to share Oregon with you: it’s environment, culture, and heritage. Combine gracious hospitality with ambiance at an inspected and approved Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild member Inn.
Hospitality Update: Our inns are following COVID-19 protocol guidance from the Oregon Health Authority.
Although mask guidelines are lifted:
● Some businesses may choose to still require masks.
● Some people may choose to still wear a mask.
We have all struggled through COVID-19 and could use a little kindness. Please be respectful of local businesses and their workers and most importantly kind to yourself.