Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Condemned Kingsland Oaks to Live on in Mayflower II

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Condemned Kingsland Oaks to Live on in Mayflower II

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

KINGSLAND, GA. | With this kind of weather, you appreciate shade. Damn that West Mims Fire anyway, but I digress.

Some live oaks are in the way of the Kingsland Bypass project and they're coming down. They don't treat trees the way they used to in such projects. They have this word, re-purpose, that isn't an actual word, but it makes the speaker's point.

It used to be that when land was cleared, trees were cut and trucked to sawmills. My late stepfather, for example, first came to South Carolina from Spruce Pine, N.C., with a logging company that cut all the hardwood before the Hartwell Dam was built and the trees were submerged. They milled it in the woods and sent the lumber back to furniture factories around Lenoir, N.C.

Now, wood is re-purposed as mulch, which, in my mind, isn't as nice as a dining room table or a bedroom suite.

Some live oaks standing along what some call Laurel Island Parkway - more on that later - will get a more noble use when they become dead oaks Thursday. Camden County has formed a partnership with Plimoth Plantation, a non-profit in Massachusetts, that will use the tough oak to restore and relauch the Mayflower II.

Scott Brazell, who manages the bypass project from design to built-out, says live oak timbers are ideal because some heavy limbs are already curved. That means less warping and cross-grain cutting, which maintains the wood's strength.

This isn't a first. In 1987, St. Marys donated its historic Washington Oak to the Navy to repair the USS Constitution.

And Englishmen financed the building of the Mayflower II replica of the original across the pond in 1955-57 to recognize the ties between the U.S. and Britain. We were especially friendly after World War II, and Plimoth Plantation agreed to take the ship and maintain it. It's now a maritime museum teaching about the original Mayflower's voyage in 1620.

The square-rigged, 106-foot Mayflower II will be in Mystic Seaport in Connecticut until 2019 getting a full restoration for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' landing in Plymouth, Mass.

Camden County Adminstrator Steve Howard said this: "There are some beautiful, historic trees along the Kingsland Bypass Route. …

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