Town Hall Treasure: Beech Tree Turned Masterpiece

Kevin Treat with Stafford Mayor Gregory Myhre. The carving of the American beech tree outside town hall was completed Sept. 19. (Photo courtesy Stafford Township)

  STAFFORD – Outside the Stafford Township Municipal Complex sits an osprey atop its perch, adjacent to a lighthouse.

  No, not a real osprey. And not the actual Ole’ Barney.

  What was once a long-standing American beech tree outside town hall has been transformed into a wooden work of wonder at the hands of Kevin Treat, second place winner of this year’s “Carve Wars” chainsaw carving competition.

  Jersey Shore Online reported back in August that the township had entered into an agreement for Treat to refurbish the rotting tree by turning into a unique art installation as a centerpiece of the town.

Photo courtesy Stafford Township

  Estimated at 200 years old, the American beech tree had finally reached its point of no return, overcome by bracket fungus, which causes decay and rot in trees to the point of eventual weakening and breakage, officials said.

  Mayor Gregory Myhre previously told Jersey Shore Online, that “the tree had been treated by an arborist for several years but they informed us that it was no longer ethical to do anything more with the tree since it was in an advanced state of decay and could not be saved.”

  In an effort to preserve the lifespan of a piece of the township’s history, officials assigned Treat the task of carving away the harmful fungus and unearthing something beautiful.

Photo courtesy Stafford Township

  The wooden statue-like figure sits about 10 feet tall, where the original tree was cut down after the fungus took over.

  Mayor Myhre had said the carving would “emphasize the natural beauty of our area.” And that it does, featuring the native shore-residing bird, the osprey, and one of our area’s most noticeable landmarks, the lighthouse.