The Angel Oak is one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi River. It has sustained itself against natural disasters and human activities for perhaps over 500 years.
Indigenous people, early settlers and Gullah ancestors sat under this tree and appreciated its majesty. This grand tree is irreplaceable as a historic, cultural and natural landmark of coastal South Country, and its value to future generations is priceless.
If you visit grand trees in other places, such as the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park or the Sherwood Oak in Sherwood Forest, England, you will find that not only have these grand trees been protected, but the watersheds that provide the basic requirements to sustain them have also been protected.
Even foot traffic too close to the roots of these trees is limited, and vehicle traffic is definitely not allowed.
No organization is responsible for ensuring the Angel Oak continues to receive the basic requirements for its survival. There is, however, no doubt in my mind that development of the land adjacent to the Angel Oak would hasten its demise.
Such development would alter drainage patterns and choke off the water and nutrients that sustain its daily needs.
The Angel Oak and its watershed should be preserved forever as a national, state or local park or monument.
This grand tree has great potential value as a focal point for public education about the cultural and natural history of the sea islands.
The efforts of a few concerned citizens have delayed development of the Angel Oak’s watershed and provided an opportunity to preserve this grand tree and the land that supports it as a park for future generations to enjoy and cherish.
In a place like Charleston that prides itself on preserving its culture and history, protecting the Angel Oak should be a “no brainer.”
State and local governments should buy the land adjacent to the Angel Oak and conserve it as a passive park.
A. Fred Holland
Long Creek Road