Our photojournalist Anne Herbst went on a hike this weekend when she saw that a lot of the aspen trees near Kebler Pass had old and new carvings with initials and hearts.
She asked Western State professor Dr. Jonathan Coop if the carving is harmful to the aspen trees. Dr. Coop is an associate professor of environment, sustainability, and biology.
According to Coop, the markings are called "dendroglyphs." The carvings humans leave are no worse than what a bear or elk could do to an aspen.
"It's basically a way of scarring up," Coop said. "The tree has bark for a reason, and that's to protect the really important tissue that's right under there."
But too much carving could have a negative effect on the tree.
"I would say if you're going to carve on a tree make something cool and put the date on there so at least a hundred years from now, if that tree is still alive, someone will have something cool to look at-- instead of, you know 'Bob,'" Coop said.
Dr. Coop said he's seen some detailed carvings of horses and women drawn by sheep herders a hundred or so years ago.
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