Arboretums for Learning and Walking

There are dozens of beautiful places to walk and hike in the Muskogee area and the C. Clay Harrell Arboretum at Honor Heights Park is especially nice this time of  year. The trees are filling out and many of them are in bloom. 

An Arboretum is a tree collection that is intended as a place to study trees. The first recorded Arboretum was in Croatia in 1492. If you want to add trees to your landscape, visits to an Arboretum provide opportunities to see many varieties at maturity, in flower, with fall color and their winter interest such as decorative bark.

A concrete, 3/4 mile path winds through the Harrell Arboretum and most trees are identified with signs. Recently there were flowers on Red Buckeye, American Smoke Tree, Flowering Peach and Amur Maple. The Crabapples are starting to form and the Japanese Maples have bright green new growth.

City Arborist Tim Doerner said that Muskogee’s arboretum has 350-400 trees with only a few duplicates. Most of them were dedicated in honor of families, groups or individuals; there is a list of them at the kiosk.

Doerner said.,“ This year we planted a Royal Raindrops Crabapple, Cherokee Brave Dogwood, Arizona Cypress and Southern Magnolia in addition to a few oaks and pines from the OK Department of Forestry.”

Each dedicated tree costs $300, including the original tree and a replacement tree if necessary, plus lifetime maintenance. New trees are watered by hand for at least a year.

C. Clay Harrell was a teacher  and principal, worked for the Corps of Engineers when Camp Gruber was built, served as Muskogee City Manager, worked on legislation to create the Port of Muskogee, and founded A More Beautiful Muskogee.

On May 4 at 10 am join me at the kiosk for a 1-mile stroll through the Arboretum and around Swan Lake.  May 4 is the first day of the Muskogee Wellness Initiative’s ‘Walk, Run or Ride the Trails’ week. The schedule of events is at


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