Witness Trees

“Perhaps nature is our best assurance of immortality.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Residents wishing to plant a tree in honor or memory of a special person or event may participate in the Witness Tree program, which is both a memorial program and an adopt-a-tree program that provides a way to commemorate special occasions while also enhancing our urban forest.

View the Witness Tree brochure and download an application.

Vancouver’s Original Witness Tree

In 1846, first settlers Amos and Esther Short established the cottonwood at the foot of Main Street as Vancouver’s Witness Tree when they recorded their land claim in which the description read, “Begin at the Balm of the Gilead tree….”

The tree stood witness to the rich history of our region:

Reigning over the booming downtown section of Vancouver, the Witness Tree’s trunk grew to be five feet in diameter and the crown spread 50 feet at a height of 75 feet. In 1909, with major portions of the river bank washed away by consecutive spring run-offs, the tree gradually leaned out over the water until it could no longer fully support itself. Anchored to the shore by a portion of its trunk and root system, it managed to hold on for two more years.

Then on June 29, 1911, the tree tore loose and disappeared downstream. Up until this times, scores of sightseers visited the tree and took away branches and bark as mementos. Pieces found their way into City Hall, the Public Library and the State Historical Society and were even carved into gavels. Many visitors planted branches in the ground that took root. It is assumed that “children” of this historic tree abound in the Vancouver urban area.

Now you can be a part of this history by planting a Witness Tree that will be cataloged into the future.

To obtain more information or discuss your idea for a living tribute, please call 360-487-8308 or email us.

Current Witness Tree Inventory

Browse the map below to learn more about Vancouver’s Witness Trees. By participating in the Witness Tree program, you can add your own tree to the inventory.

Witness Tree

Dale Erikson

Lucile Nordheim

Historic Witness Tree

Patricia Stryker

Dorothy F. Grassby Dwyer

Waldo Kunze

Jan Hall

Nicholas Eric Pridemore

Ryan and Jessica Woods

Michele McKeag Larsen

Bosilka ‘Silka’ Josephine Schlitt

Marilyn Davis

Dale F. Bowlin

William H. Ward II

R. Lloyd Tyler II

Emily Jean Davidson Airhart

Mark O. Brown

Lois Smith

Janelle Schaefer Sleeper

Marjorie M. Say

Hugh ‘Buzz’ Allison

Jim and Jean Toland

Lenda M. Crawford

PFC Vanessa Guillén

In Honor of Ft. Vancouver DAR Compatriots

In celebration of our love

James L. Etzkorn

Mick Gralton (2 of 2 trees)

David Bradley Meados

Marjorie R. Logsdon

Jack Onder

Patti Walding Smith

Daniel L. Scouller Sr. and Barbara R. Scouller

Susan Sanders

John R. Marcus

Farsane Mahbubikia

Debbie Kreider

Mark Maggoria

Philip G. Cardin

Alfred and Eva Sasse, and Truman and Josephine Claiborne

Betsy Williams

Gordon MacWilliams

Laura Hudson

Cpl. Charlie Ford

Cheri Martin

Larry Smith

Vancouver Rocks

Dan Preston

Amy Hooser

J. Scott Campbell

Bill Adler

Rita Rhodes

Neatha LeFevre

Schaefer Family

Mary Jane Say

Irene ‘Betty’ Allison

Marie Mayhall Fowler

Jamie Spinelli

Rick Anderson

In Honor of National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century

Jim and Brenda Tiefenthaler

Leslie and Eva Aigner

Jacqueline Marie Justice

Nikki Kuhnhausen

Rich McConaghy

Sandra Celestine Jackson

Mike and Millie Matanich

Andrea Roorda

Judi Bailey

Moto and Dakota

Mary Granger

David Odom

David Judd

Lyudmila M. Oparina

Denis Hayes

Vicki Thompson

Marika Allen

Vicki Vanneman

Noah Dean Baird

Hector Hinojosa

Linda Clifton

Dale F. Bowlin

Jeannine Kaufman Elliff

April Dawn Smith

Deva Leinani Yamashiro

City Employees

Charles MacWilliams

Pat Rafferty

Regina Thornton Etzkorn

Robert Knight

Jonathan Hokama

Mary Ellen Davidson Vogeler

Alexander Ryan Novin

In Honor of Ft. Vancouver SAR Compatriots

In Memory of Paul Hiromura

Ronnie Goldrick

Mick Gralton (1 of 2 trees)

Cathleen McQuillan

Campbell Family

Bill Woodard

Jane Jacobsen

Marie Beuche

Annette Griffy

Paul J. Danzer