Native American Trail Marker Tree Found in New Jersey

This Trail Marker Tree, found in Sussex County, New Jersey, was likely used by Lenape Indians to guide people to an important location.

Look at the tree in the picture above. What do you notice about its shape? Why do you think it grew that way?

Native Americans grew trees to give directions to important locations. They were called Trail Marker Trees. Native Americans would take young tree, bend it over and then tie it to the ground pointing in the direction of a place. Could this be a Trail Marker tree?

This tree was rediscovered in 2007. In 2009 the pictures and location were analyzed by the President of the Delaware Nation. He confirmed that the tree is indeed a Trail Marker tree. It was identified as the first Trail Marker tree cataloged in New Jersey. The tree is estimated to be between 300 and 400 years old. Since that time, 10 additional trees have been discovered in New Jersey.

The tree is located in Sussex County, New Jersey. It was most likely created by the Lenape Indians to point to a location where healing ceremonies took place. Researchers believe this is a Ceremony Tree because it is a far distance from known Lenape villages. Native Americans would identify land considered to have spiritual or healing properties, often a far distance from their village, and this tree would serve as a guide to that land.

What Do You Think? Have you ever noticed anything in your community you’d like to know more about? How could you find out about it?

Photo Credit: John Schumacher