Celebrating the Rebirth of the Beekman Arboretum

With spring all around, come join us for the 24th Annual Jacksonville Woodlands Association Hike-a-Thon and annual meeting on Saturday, April 15, 2017. This year we will be highlighting the C.C. Beekman Arboretum. The C.C. Beekman Native Plant Arboretum occupies a 3-acre, bowl-like site in the heart of Historic Jacksonville adjacent to the Beekman House at the intersection of California Street and Laurelwood Drive.

For many, many years this area was left untended. In summer 1997, Alan Horobin, a long-time member of the Jacksonville Woodlands Association and a professional garden designer, developed a plan for cleaning-up the area and the development of a native plant garden and arboretum. The manicured meandering paths wound through eight biological habitats of the Siskiyou Mountains. In addition to more than twenty varieties of conifer, plant enthusiasts enjoyed viewing dogwood, willow, aspen, alder, oak, hawthorn, cherry, ash, and maple trees. There was also an impressive list of shrubs and herbs, all of which were clearly marked. For many years, volunteers met every Wednesday to maintain the garden. But over time, as the seasons changed, the volunteer base faded and so did the Arboretum.

It spring 2016, after years of minimal maintenance, the Arboretum sparked the interest of the Jacksonville Woodland Association members Kandee McClain and Becka Kem. For McClain this was a place to walk and regularly see deer and other wildlife. For Kem, it became a place to hike and play with her young son. Together, they saw the Arboretum as a gem that held a lot of potential for all ages to enjoy nature and learn more about native plants. Over the past year, with many volunteers and organizations donating time, energy and resources, much progress has been made in restoring the CC Beekman Arboretum to a destination that people regularly visit.

The theme of this year’s hike-a-thon, “Hiking for History: C.C. Beekman Arboretum” celebrates this historic acreage. Come join in this family-friendly event. Some of the activities include: a C.C. Beekman Arboretum tour, children’s activities, brief program and annual meeting, several hike options and a picnic lunch provided by Jacqueline and Jason Williams of Jacksonville Chiropractic Clinic.

The events start at 9:00am with the Linda Brodie Water Feature Dedication followed by a tour of the Arboretum. This will be a short 15-20 minute guided walk through the C.C. Beekman Arboretum highlighting some of the native plants that grow in our area and the vision for the C.C. Beekman Arboretum.

The short annual meeting will start at 9:30am. Topics such as the health of the Jacksonville Woodlands Association, how to get involved, community outreach, and recognizing individuals for their outstanding work will be shared. During this time there will be children’s activities and coffee donated by Michael and Mary Kell of GoodBean Coffee.

At 10:15 the hikes will begin! The C.C. Beekman Arboretum is the starting point for hikes. Becka Kem will organize the family and self-guided hikers. She will provide a map of the planned, one-mile loop and verbal instructions. Becka will also lead a more organized group for those that want to stay together. Hikers are encouraged to move at their own pace and enjoy the woodlands. Children’s activities and snacks will be provided after the hike. Lunch will be served from 11:30am-12:30pm.

Local historian Larry Smith will lead a three-mile hike through the Beekman Woods over to the Grove Woods on 3rd Street and then double-back through the Beekman Woods. Larry will share the history of these portions of the Woodlands and their acquisition history. They will arrive back in time for lunch at the Beekman House around noon.

Come help us celebrate the progress being made at the C.C. Beekman Arboretum and show your support of the Jacksonville Woodlands Association. Let’s go for a hike!

The C.C. Beekman Arboretum is located behind the Beekman House at 452 E. California Street, Jacksonville, 97530

Parking is available at the nearby Historic Presbyterian Church across the street from the Beekman House. Please use the western half of the lot. Please look for signs and volunteers for assistance. The eastern portion is privately owned. The small parking lot at the Beekman House will be limited to loading and unloading.

Hike-a-thon Schedule:
9:00am        Dedication
9:10am        Arboretum Tour
9:30am        Annual Program
10:15am        Hikes Begin
11:30am-12:30pm    Picnic Lunch

Featured image is of Larry Smith leading a group of hikers.