Great Lakes Trail Marker Tree Society
Founder and President: Dennis Downes

The book based on Downes' thirty year study is now available
Native American Trail Marker Trees: Marking Paths through the Wilderness
Published by Chicago's Books Press, Neal Samors

Special Limited Edition
Includes numbered signed print of trail tree by author
that matches limited edition number of book.
To see the Regular Hard Cover Edition click here

Limited Edition Hard Cover

This new book by Dennis Downes focuses on the history of Native American Trail Marker Trees. This book is the result of the author's lifelong passion concerning the Trail Marker Trees, used by Native Americans throughout their history, both pre and post European settlement in North America and the role early pioneers and historians played in helping to save this part of history. This exciting book, a beautiful combination of history and nature, has 264 pages with more than 250 color and black and white photographs, maps and memorabilia. It is based on Dennis' broad travels throughout North America and Canada during which he researched ancient cultures and their involvement with the trees. Dennis was first influenced by his own Native American relative and later by working with several Native American experts and historians across the country. In addition, he has made it his lifelong dedication to finding, identifying, researching, and protecting these culturally modified living landmarks. The book includes detailed stories about Trail Marker Trees in more than 19 states and in Canada and related involvement with individuals and groups such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, Boy and Girl Scouts of America, DNR, and many others. It is the culmination of his travels and nearly thirty years of research. This is the first publication to focus in such detail on this unique form of land and water navigation used by the Native Americans and later the early pioneers.

There is also a fascinating Foreword to this book was written by well-known Chicago television host, executive producer of ABC7 News' 190 North and historian Janet Davies.

The book includes research and specific examples from Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Colorado, Iowa, and the province of Ontario.


From Dick Bales, attorney and published author (Illinois)

I have just finished reading Dennis Downes' book. Dennis is first and foremost an artist. How appropriate, then, that this book is truly a work of art, filled with hundreds of photographs. But although Dennis is an artist, in writing this book he has created something that is more than just art. This book is unique on at least two levels. One, he has completed a comprehensive study of a heretofore arcane subject. Two, in writing this book, he has combined hundreds of hours of academic library research with hundreds of hours of physical "in the field" investigation. As an author myself, I find the result to be inspiring and, I must confess, more than a bit humbling.

From Lee and Donna Ryan, founding members of the Almond Historical Society (New York)

We have just received our copy of "Native American Trail Marker Trees" written by Dennis Downes, and we are absolutely thrilled with it! Our interest in trail marker trees in our area of Western New York State began several years ago, and we have been fascinated with the study of these trees, our oldest living historical landmarks. I wish we had "found" Dennis Downes several years ago: The knowledge that he has gained from his three decades of studying trail marker trees is shared here in this beautifully illustrated book. We have never seen such a complete, detailed work on this subject. It will be a valuable resource to us in the future. Thank you, Dennis, for all your hard work -- and for sharing your passion and your knowledge with us. We say: Buy this book -- you won't be disappointed!

From C. Cappello, Cougar Creek Ranch (Colorado)

Wonderfully informative, and a must have for anyone who loves Native American history. Mr. Downes has spent his life researching and sharing this project. I am so pleased to own this and to have learned so much from it. Fabulous and fascinating !!!!

From Michael Griem, Career Management Consultant (Lake Forest, IL)

Dennis' book is incredible. He has captured the essence and glory of trail marker trees in a one-of-a-kind resource. The reader immediately senses the unequalled importance of these wonderful, to-date underappreciated, historical landmarks. You can feel the vital role they played in the daily lives of Native Americans.
The author's unparalleled knowledge of and keen personal interest in these glorious resources jumps from the book's pages. He educates us about trail marker trees and then describes their broad geographic presence throughout America.
Thanks to Dennis' unusual professionalism (which I valued highly as a career management consultant), the reader gets a robust exploration of trail marker trees. The book is quite a bargain!

C. Trutter Hauff past Regent of the Fort Dearborn Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution

Dennis Downes has connected the dots in a marvelous discussion of pre-history in North America. He has researched the subject on Indian Trail Marker trees to the smallest detail, yet he keeps his story very readable. This is a rarely explored subject and Dennis has captured it in wonderful detail. A splendid and fun read!

Gary T. Johnson, President, Chicago History Museum

A powerful reminder of a bye-gone era:
"Native American Trail Marker Trees: Marking Paths Through The Wilderness" by Dennis Downes is a powerful reminder of a bye-gone era. As Chicago celebrates its 175th anniversary as a city in 2012, it is too easy to forget that for centuries and centuries before then, that very same land was home to countless generations of inhabitants. They left their marks in the trees, some of which still survive to point out the paths that those people followed. Now, an important local artist tells the story in this beautiful book. This photographic essay will help us to remember the people who lived here first and the paths that they blazed.

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