Arrow Tree

MR 641

Here is another road side landmark that gets much less attention. Just above Korbel on the road to Maple Creek, you can see this tree on the left side of the road. Here in the entry from Place Names of Humboldt County:

About a mile east of Camp Bauer on the road to Maple Creek, there is a famous redwood tree called the Arrow Tree. Over the years hundreds of people, when passing the tree, would place a twig, an arrow, a feather or stick in the bark. The origin of the custom is unknown and even the Indians have more than one explanation. One account states that the Indians respected a tall and straight redwood tree and considered it a great warrior. They would shoot arrows into the tree on passing it as a form of salute and respect. Another account says the Indians from the Hoopa and Korbel tribes were at war. At last the Korbel Indians won and the Indians would shoot an arrow into the tree in passing to show that they came in peace. In 1915 this was still practiced by some of the older Indians. Another explanation says that according to Indian legend, a great drought forced the mountain Indians from their home into the lower Mad River where rain was abundant. The Mad River Indians resented the invasion and war broke out. The Great Spirit summoned the two leaders to a certain tree where he directed them to end fighting and return to their homes and there would be plenty of rain. In memory of the peace treaty, each tribe, when passing, must shoot an arrow into it’s bark.

From the Peter E. Palmquist collection, ca, 1930

From the Peter E. Palmquist collection, ca, 1930

The road you see in the picture was also once a major pack trail connecting up to major trails in Snow Camp and Pilot Ridge. No doubt the Indians also traversed these broad ridges. Take a look at that old photograph from the 30s’. Now look at this picture, circa 2014. Notice how much in-growth there has been!

MR 639


  1. The old sign, which only a remnant remains, from memory said” This is the site of the treaty between the US and redwood creek and grouse 1865″ You can still see these words somewhat on the old broken sign. Apparently from what I remember of the sign which was still complete in 1979 Tribes shot an arrow in a tree denoting truce for the treaty signing (powow)

  2. I just found out about the tree today, and will make the journey on Saturday to pay my respects for what the tree means. I heard some idiots sprayed graffitti on it 😦

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