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The National Parks Service is turning 100! Celebrate by learning more about Valley Forge Park and the tales of its trees.

Spotlight: Davey Preserves Pennsylvania’s Valley Forge Park

July 28, 2016

As the golden sun peeks through the trees at your local park, you smile – inevitably.

It’s simple. Our local and national parks rejuvenate us, just like they’ve been doing for the last 100 years.

This August, the National Park Services turns 100. Plus, July is Parks and Recreation Month, which honors the power and fun of your local parks.

To celebrate, we’re sharing one of our favorite parks, Valley Forge National Historical in Pennsylvania. Read on to learn more about the park and the tales of its trees.

History of Valley Forge National Historical Park

Photo Credit: Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge Park homed George Washington himself – along with his Continental army – for six months from 1777 to 1778.

When the army first arrived, they were weary, sick and without proper training. The winter was harsh and provisions were short. 2,000 men, women, and children – yes, many families traveled with the army – died of disease.

Here, they were able to come together as a single American army to rest, recuperate and train. Emerging stronger than ever, they won their first battle after leaving Valley Forge.

Things to Do at Valley Forge Park

Photo Credit: Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge Park’s 3,500 acres burst with history and natural beauty. Be sure to see the Muhlenberg Brigade Huts, National Memorial Arch, Artillery Park and other historic sites.

You have your pick of over 26 miles of trails to hike, bike or even go horseback riding. If you’d rather, hop on a trolley and enjoy the sites. During summer, Valley Forge’s history comes alive with the help of park rangers.

The Trees at Valley Forge

Photo Credit: Valley Forge National Historical Park

Before settlement, Valley Forge was 95 percent forested. By 1777, farmers had reduced the forest cover to 30 percent.

Once Washington and his troops arrived, they used every tree in the area and from miles beyond for shelter, firewood or infrastructure.

Thanks to many re-plantings, Valley Forge forests now cover 34 percent of the park and contain over 110 tree species. These trees provide essential habitat for scores of birds, mammals and other species while also helping to protect water quality.

Today, Davey Tree’s local King of Prussia, PA office cares, maintains and preserves some of these historical trees by pruning and/or removing trees that have become hazardous.

“History lives here. You feel it when you walk the grounds. And, the trees play a big part in that,” says Gary Schermerhorn, district manager of Davey’s King of Prussia office. “Especially in the spring, when the buds start blooming and the leaves emerge, it’s easy to imagine what Washington and his troops saw and felt after their long winter.”

Visiting Valley Forge? See the state champion trees and the majestic forest! Or, find a historic, national park near you!

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