By Karen Cernich
Trees of Treloar Project Creates Mini Arboretum Along the Katy Trail
When a steady rain that would continue into the night began to fall Sunday afternoon, Oct. 18, Bill Spradley of Trees, Forests & Landscapes, Kirkwood, must have been pleased. It was exactly what the newly planted Trees of Treloar needed.
Just days earlier, Bill and his friend Mike Rood of Pea Ridge Forest in Hermann, had finished planting the last of 34 native Missouri trees in a half-acre size lot where the old Treloar Bar and Grill used to stand, a stone’s throw from the Katy Trail. The circa 1890s building, which had been vacant since 2012, was not salvageable, so Dan and Connie Burkhardt purchased the property in January, envisioning how it could better support the mission of Magnificent Missouri, a nonprofit Dan founded in 2012 with the late John McPheeters “to conserve and increase appreciation of the Katy Trail and the last 100 miles of the Missouri River Valley through education, events and collaborative projects.”
The property was in foreclosure and the building was crumbling, so Dan and Connie seized the opportunity. They had the building razed to clear a space for their tree project.
Jason Marschel of Marschel Wrecking, who grew up in the area and joined the board of Magnificent Missouri earlier this year, led the demolition work and then graded and seeded the land to prepare it for planting the Trees of Treloar, a project that matches the Peers Prairie collaboration between Magnificent Missouri and Missouri State Parks that was installed in the patch of ground between the Katy Trail and Peers Store.
“What we are trying to do is give people some conservation along with their recreation,” Dan said. “The Katy Trail, everybody thinks about it as a place to ride bikes and have fun, and it is, but we want to show off something about native Missouri trees. Before being cleared for today’s farm fields, the river bottom near Treloar was filled with pecan, oak and sycamore trees. The Trees of Treloar will be a place to celebrate Magnificent Missouri’s goal of reforesting areas along the Katy Trail . . . to provide shade and beauty for trail users, habitat for wildlife and pollinators, and runoff control for a healthy watershed.”
And the Trees of Treloar are just the beginning. “The Katy Trail is kind of a showplace for trees, and we want to plant more trees up and down the trail between Hermann and St. Charles,” Dan said.
Most of the trees planted at Treloar came from Pea Ridge Forests. All are native Missouri trees.
“We tried to select the native trees that pioneers might have used on their way through here . . . Most of these are found along this corridor already, this bottomland, and that’s why we selected them,” said Bill, who designed the layout of the plantings. “Since they’re native, they’ll thrive. They’re pretty fool proof, because they’ve evolved here for thousands of years.”
The only need they have is to be watered regularly. To make that easier, Dan and Connie activated an old well on the property.
Another factor that will aid the trees in adjusting to their new environment is that most were grown just down the road in the Hermann area.
“That makes it even better for the trees because the soil type is similar,” Bill said.
The list of tree species includes native oaks like bur oak, overcup oak and chinquapin oak; flowering trees like serviceberry, red bud and American fringe; as well as edibles like pecan, paw paw and persimmon trees. There also are a bald cypress and river birch.
The trees, which are between 6 to 10 years old, were planted so they won’t crowd each other, Bill said. The ornamental trees may grow to around 25 feet tall, while others, like the bur oak, can grow up to 80 feet.
As someone who loves trees, Bill is excited to see the transformation of the Treloar lot. “I think it’s great! It went from an old building that was falling down to an arboretum in just a few days.
There’s not a lot of green space along the trail, so this will be a nice place for people to stop. And it’s great for the community, because now it’s like a little park.”
Plans are to add ID tags to the trees and an interpretive sign about the project.
Celebrating the Katy Trail
The Trees of Treloar Project was unveiled to the public Sunday, Oct. 18, at the 10th annual Treloar Elevator Party hosted by Magnificent Missouri at the Katy Trail trailhead in Treloar. The event, held each year to celebrate the Katy Trail and support the Marthasville Volunteer Fire Department, included music performed by the Southwest Watson Sweethearts with Mat Wilson, vintage farm equipment displayed by the Warren County Old Threshers, tram rides on the Katy Trail between Peers Store and the Treloar Mercantile (a 3-mile or so stretch that Magnificent Missouri has named “the Country Store Corridor”) offered by Missouri State Parks, and jalapeño bratwursts prepared by members of the Marthasville Fire Protection District.
“We started the Treloar Elevator Party to celebrate what we are trying to do: conserve and preserve this part of Missouri,” Dan said. “We think it’s the most beautiful part of the state.
“And this year is special, because not only are we supporting the Marthasville Volunteer Fire Company, which does things no one else does for southern Warren County, but we are celebrating this tree planting, the Trees of Treloar.”
Mike Hellebusch and Stephanie Balven, both of Augusta, were driving through Treloar Sunday, Oct. 18, when they noticed people gathered around the Katy Trail trailhead at Treloar and decided to stop.
Mike has worked in forestry and describes himself as someone who loves trees. As he and Stephanie walked among the Trees of Treloar, Mike shared details about the different species.
“Living in Augusta, we use the Katy Trail quite often, so we love this,” Stephanie said.
Bill and Joyce Davit, who now live in Krakow, but once called the grounds of Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit home when Bill worked there as a naturalist, feel the same way.
“They picked a good selection of trees,” Joyce said.
Trees along the trail serve a number of purposes, Bill said. They provide shelter and food for wildlife, but they also offer shade and beauty to hikers, runners and cyclists who are using the trail every day.
Marthasville Firefighters Purchase Swift Water Rescue Boat
The Marthasville volunteer firefighters, who have sold bratwursts and hot dogs at the Treloar Elevator Party every year as a fundraiser, showed off the 14-foot Zodiac Swift Water Rescue boat they were able to purchase with the proceeds from all of their fundraisers over the last several years. The boat was on display next to the bratwurst stand at this year’s Elevator Party.
In addition to the boat, a $20,000 value, the fire department was able to purchase the necessary swift water rescue training and gear for 12 firefighters, at a cost of $3,500 per firefighter, said Cindy Gladden, Marthasville’s public information officer.
Marthasville, which runs around 300 calls a year, has roughly 60 active volunteer firefighters and three fire stations — in Marthasville, Dutzow and Treloar.
“Our fire district includes 165 miles of coverage, and we have experienced a drastic increase in water-related emergencies,” Cindy said. “With the support from our community and generous people like the Burkhardts, we are better prepared to handle that.”