Lone Peak Moon Tree

Draper, Utah

[Lone Peak Moon Tree] [Lone Peak Sign] [Lone Peak Moon Tree]

Utah has a sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) Moon Tree at what is now known as the Lone Peak Conservation Center, next to the state prison in Draper. The tree was planted circa 1976. The original site was a state owned nursery, the Lone Peak Nursery. Due to its proximity to the prison, inmates worked in the nursery until the 1990s. The nursery was taken over by a private company and renamed the High Mountain Nursery. The tree is still under the care of the State Forestry Department.

The red building next to the Moon Tree is the State Forestry Department’s Lone Peak office. The building was expanded in the 1990's, but the architect designed it with the tree in mind, to ensure it was not disturbed and provide irrigation. Fittingly, as Stuart Roosa was a Forest Service smokejumper, the building is home to the Utah Lone Peak Hotshot wildland firefighters. The state prison is being relocated. The land, including the Moon Tree, is planned for sale and redevelopment. The fate of the tree is unknown at this time. It has been reported that the tree is suffering from the fungal disease, anthracnose, as of summer 2020.

The seeds for the sycamores taken on Apollo 14 were originally collected in Claiborne County, Mississippi and the seedlings grown at the Institute of Forest Genetics (IFG) southern station in Gulfport, Mississippi.

A second Utah Moon Douglas fir planted at the State Capitol was destroyed by a freak tornado in August, 1999. According to the 29 April 1976 Utah Beaver Press (see clipping below) four seedlings were sent to Utah, two Douglas firs and two sycamores. The other two trees are unaccounted for, but the Douglas firs match the forest service records that two were allocated to Utah.

[Lone Peak Moon Tree] [Salt Lake City Article Picture] [Lone Peak Moon Tree]

Top two right, middle left, and lower photographs courtesy of Ken Roberts.
Upper left and middle right photographs courtesy Beth Gordon
Article credit Utah Beaver Press.

The story behind Utah’s lone surviving ‘moon tree’ - KSL NewsRadio (15 August 2019)

Uniquely Utah: The 'Moon Tree' - Fox 13 Salt Lake City (18 August 2019)

Utah’s lone surviving Moon Tree faces uncertain future - KSL NewsRadio (20 July 2020)

[Lone Peak Moon Tree] [Lone Peak Moon Tree]
 History of the Sycamore Moon Trees
 Moon Tree Home Page

Dr. David R. Williams, dave.williams@nasa.gov
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dave Williams, david.r.williams@nasa.gov
Last Updated: 30 May 2024, DRW