W.J. Beal Tree Planting

Historic Beal Tree Plantation

Planted in 1888, it may be the oldest documented tree plantation in North America. With 40 species of trees, the purpose of the planting was to determine and demonstrate how well various trees and shrubs could be established and grown on dry, sandy soils. Not only was this the first real forest planting in Michigan, it particularly reflects a first and very early recognition of how to recover from the era of exploitative logging, and to manage forest resources intelligently and with a view to the future.  As a reflection of early forest restoration consciousness, it is a reminder of past mistakes, as well as the potential to renew, manage, and use our forests wisely for all time. A short nature trail wends its way through the plantation. It is located within the city limits of Grayling. Head east on M-72 to Industrial Park Road and turn right. The parking lot can be seen on the left just a few hundred yards from the turn. The plantation is handicapped accessible and offers a self guided tour.

While there remains little, if any, known scientific value in this planting, its historic value is indeed unique.