Great news! The newly planted tree along U.S. Route 340 between Luray and Front Royal are thriving. Scenic 340 Project’s summer tube survey showed an impressive 85% survival rate. The nonprofit community group has planted more than 500 trees since 2016.
Prior to VDOT’s replacement of the Overall Creek and Gooney Creek bridges, a traveler along 340 was treated to a spectacular canopy of mature redbuds lining the road. Sadly, the trees had to be cut down during construction.
Scenic 340 Treasurer Fred Andreae explains the community group’s idea: “At our annual meeting one of our members, Harry Heard, said, ‘Gee, you know, what if we replanted some of these trees?’ Because for many of us that area was so beautiful before they did the bridge replacement projects. It was just lined with the redbuds and dogwoods. It was a beautiful show in the spring. When they reoriented the road they sort of wiped everything out down there.”
In an effort to restore the scenic beauty and the environmental benefits of the tree canopy, volunteers with the Scenic 340 Project have planted native trees and shrubs in 2016, 2017 and 2018 including black gum, forsythia, serviceberry, pine, sumac, and, of course, the showy redbuds.