The Lone Tree Exhibit
Across the grassland a lone tree stands as a sentinel. For some it arouses curiosity: Why does that particular tree grow at that particular spot? For others who feel vulnerable and exposed the lone tree can bring comfort to the soul and relief to the eye in the vastness of the landscape.
Wildlife takes advantage of these lone trees. Tall or short, narrow or wide, living or dead, they all offer something the grass cannot. To a bird, the lone tree may offer a perch from which to hunt, or a safe place to build a nest. To livestock, the lone tree may offer a scratching post, or escape from the blazing sun.
Trees are markers of past homesteads, gauges of intermittent water flows, and indicators of more than adequate precipitation in some climes of the 20 national grasslands. Trees are an anomaly on the national grasslands. Just as we may wonder why a tree grows where it does, we also wonder at the historical circumstances that left in its wake the national grasslands. The national grasslands are sentinels of the Forest Service.
This exhibit is on display at the National Grasslands Visitor Center, Wall, South Dakota.