July 19, 2007 by RCHS (34 found)
This entry is merely for the record. I originally found the site on July first as a geomuggle who happened upon a family of geocachers while I was pulling buckthorn. They educated me about their activity and, after they left, I discovered the microcache where their interests had been centered. I signed the log anyway and left a penny as a self-imposed fine.
For your information: Kelly Park is a name unfamiliar to me. I know that it has nothing to do with the old oak and its immediate vicinity. The area around the tree was cleaned up. grass planted, benches built and added, and the toadstool seat installed for (hopefully) parents to sit and read a book from the library to their kids. One family did so and was photographed to record the initial use of the site in 2002. Since then the site has been mostly ignored. Two copies of the photo exist: one in the home of the family and the other in the possession of the City of Minnetonka. The title selected by the photographer was "Multistoried Oak", mostly to call attention to the scars that would illustrate stories the tree could tell, if only it could talk.
In the tree's "basement" there is a small hole, possiply the entrance to a secure place for a mouse or vole to raise its family. There is a large branch lying on the ground where it fell many years ago, presumably a result of a thunder storm. The scar from which it fell is lined with charcoal indicating that the lightning strike started a fire, perhaps in the dry leaves collected in a hollow by a squirel. On the west side is a prominent frost scar, caused by the uneven expansion and contraction in the spring and deep sub-zero winter. Above the scar are several dead branches, starved to death by weedy boxelders growing up through the lower limbs and cutting off the sunlight from their leaves. The old oak had been extending live wood over the dead branches, forming collars around several of them. Higher still are a few self-grafts, places where young branches grew together as they thickened until they merged. In the uppermost branches many birds must have found places to rest or roost. During the clean-up of the site the calls of a hawk were heard frequently.
The photograph once hung in the Minnetonka branch of the Hennepin County Library nearby, in hopes that it would inspire other parents to inquire about the site, its location and the intended use. Few if any did. After being neglected for a couple of years it was withdrawn and entrusted to a person with strong interest in Minnetonka's history, including the old oak, whose age would indicate that it must surely have witnessed the struggles of early settlers who cursed the density of wooded growth along ther creek and gave it the name "Purgatory" in frustration.
The site has been vandalized several times, tree labels stolen, benches tossed around and the owl stolen twice.
One final note: The site was cleaned up without obtaining approval from either the City or the Library on the assumption that it is easier to obtain forgiveness than permission.
Legacy bur oak in Kelly Park is a little known Minnetonka treasure
July 13, 2014 by RCHS AKA (spuke)
After reviewing comments made by visitors to the cache and tree, those who are interested in learning more about the tree may wish to ask the librarians for access to "Autobiography of an Oak" by Quercus Macrocarpa, an uncatalogued loose leaf notebook, and probably in the storage room off of the kids' meeting room.