Tulsa River Parks Authority To Cut Down The 'Arch Tree' On Riverside Trail

Thursday, July 29th 2021, 10:27 pm
By: Chinh Doan

TULSA, Oklahoma -

A beloved tree along the Riverside Trail, known to many as "The Arch" or "The Rainbow Tree," will be cut down Friday morning.

River Parks Authority told News On 6 after recent weather, it is a safety hazard.

River Parks Authority said the cottonwood has been at 12th and Riverside for more than 50 years. Of all the trees along the Arkansas River that call the Riverside Trail home, this one that stands out

"Honestly, I've had a lot of heart, lovely moments with it of just sitting, staring, touching, doing, just being with the tree,” said Jayne Gause.

Many neighbors, like Gause, said they are saddened to hear about the tree getting cut down.

"Shouldn't be growing sideways, but in competing for sunlight with the trees around it, that's kind of the approach it took, was to grow sideways,” said John Beasley, who lives across the street.

Beasley shared with News On 6 photos he took throughout the years: From his grandkids to triathletes to others marveling at the tree.

Although this natural landmark has survived many seasons, winter has come early for it, and it's going to be cut down.

"We're really, really sad about that, but we really can't leave it like that because of liability concerns for our trail users,” explained Matt Meyer, executive director of River Parks Authority.

Meyer said recent strong winds broke part of the trunk, and gravity over time pulled the other side of the tree to the ground. Meyer added a certified arborist evaluated the tree this week, and crews blocked it off Thursday.

"About the only way to really save it is to build some sort of a steel bridge structure underneath it and the cost estimate was like 10 thousand bucks, which probably is not a good use of taxpayer money,” said Meyer.

As the sun sets over these branches one more night, fans of the tree are saying goodbye to what Mother Nature has reclaimed.

"It will be missed, but hopefully, we'll have good memories," said Beasley.

Contractors will start removing the tree Friday tomorrow at 8 a.m.

Crews will leave small pieces of the tree there as mementos for people to take home.