STOP the STATE of TEXAS from Destroying 500 Year Old Live Oak Tree and Forest!!

  • by: Phyllis Tietjen
  • recipient: State of Texas Department of Transportation

There is a tree located in a small town called Snook in Texas (pop. ~515) certified by an arborist to be around 500 years old. The grand tree is one of several live oak trees the arborist has measured to be 200-300 years old and is noted to be one of the few true Live Oak Forests in this area. My family has owned the property close to 150 years which the State of Texas recognized and entered into the Texas Family Land Heritage program. The grand oak has a trunk that measures around 25 feet in circumference. Its limbs extend somewhere around 100 feet. They have survived numerous severe droughts, floods hurricanes, lighting storms, you name it and they have beat it. Ponder for a few minutes about the history that has passed these trees by, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, Coronado searched for gold, Jamestown was settled, John Hancock signed his name, Lewis and Clark walked to Portland, Hugh Glass fought a Bear, Bowie used his knife in a Church, Booth did the unthinkable, yes it just goes on and on till 2014. 

Sadly, after centuries of struggling to survive, watching history unfold, these beautiful old trees have become the target of the State of Texas through her Department of Transportation. They have determined, through all their exceptional wisdom that it is their duty to serve and protect the public by choosing to destroy these beautiful specimens of god’s ability to create a lasting beauty, which now has proven they can only to be destroyed by simple man.

TxDot is going to take five of these wonderful pieces of history down so they can build a new road through the Community of Snook, Texas. They could have simply moved their conquest less than 40 feet into an area of only scrub growth and saved these magnificent topiary beauties. Yet without any reasonable consideration as to what these giants have endured for up to maybe 600 years, what they mean to the people around them, what they mean to the land, soil, air, human life and wildlife, what they could signify to the citizens of Texas, the engineers and designers for the Texas road system decided it is not possible to move their self imposed boundary those few feet.

We have just found out from a very reliable source, that even though we prevailed at the first hearing, the assistant Attorney General appealed that decision and now they intend to take the land through the State's Eminent Domain law. The five trees have been SENTENCED to DEATH, marked with paint when in fact they could be saved which would benefit life on this earth more than a brand new big fast road through a small rural farming community. Is this another form of the bullying method or abusive dictatorship the law allows? The necessity and path of the new big and fast roadway has been questioned by the local landowners from the beginning and met with a lot of politcal dancing around a straight answer. Did you know that the Castle Coalition gave Texas a B- when it comes to property owners' protection against eminent domain? Why is that? This is right on point as the selling point from the asst AG to promote this project... economic development! B>>>S>>>!

Would you kill a giant sequioa or a redwood or take a highway through Muirwood just because it was more convenient?  NO!!!!


Dear Friends of the 500 Year Old Live Oak and its forest,

Please help us to stop this unwarranted death sentence of artifacts that are beneficial to existance of land and life in our small rural community. 

Trees are a vital part of our being and I ask for your support to help us save the giant 500 year old Live Oak and its surrounding forest of 200 -300 year old bretheren.

By signing this pledge, you’ll join thousands who are standing up to help protect this critical habitat and our voices be heard. Sign now and your name will be added to the petition, which we are going to deliver in-person

Peace be with you all.

Phyllis Giesenschlag-Tietjen

Our Land

Update #310 years ago
Press release from TxDot deputy director Joe Barton yesterday reported in
Houston Chronicle,,, " sending engineers back to the drawing board... " A step in the right direction in our opinion but we feel we need to hold their feet to the fire until something more concrete than a press release is presented. Keep signing and sharing show them we are serious
We are so blessed by all your support.
Update #210 years ago
URGENT!!!! Per Assistant Attorney Genl, Betsy Johnson, today... TxDOT took possession of the property and the trees at the hearing and "they can do with it what they WANT". Construction is set to begin on April 1st... Fools DAY... how fitting!!!!! PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION
Update #110 years ago
Statement from our mom,Joyce Giesenschlag, 83 of Snook TX, there's a lot of support from our friends and others and I have something to say too.God gave us those trees and all that comes with them. Man should not be allowed to take them away.God gave them sustenance through centuries.I am proud to be here to see them and I pray many of my grandkids can enjoy them for years to come. We do not need to destroy what God has given to us.
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