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5 Curiously Shaped Forests

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Most forests aren't shaped like anything much. Natural blobs, usually. Squares, perhaps, if they were designed by architects or urban planners. But these forests are forests with a purpose.

1. A Heart

In 1995, Janet Howes died from heart failure at the age of 50. Her heartbroken widower, Winston, decided to pay tribute to his wife by planting a forest of 6,000 oak trees, leaving a heart-shaped meadow in the middle. Situated in the middle of a six-acre field near Gloucestershire, England, the massive love letter remained a secret until a hot air balloonist spied it from the air a few years ago.

2. Minnesota

Someone must be a really proud Minnesotan. In Lake of the Woods County, there lies a massive forest shaped exactly like the North Star State. After an article on the oddly shaped woods ran on Minneapolis’ City Pages site, a commenter replied with the backstory:

"I was a forester in northern Minnesota for some time and I can tell you this. This is state forest land, managed by DNR Division of Forestry. The state employs foresters to design timber harvests to meet many objectives including ecological and economic ones. The forester who designed this timber sale is a veteran at his craft and created this boundary line without the use of gps [sic], but with map and compass instead. The forest type is jack pine, which is an early successional species that colonizes sites after a major disturbance and needs full sun to thrive. This species occurs in fire dependent forests.  Modern timber sales mimic the effect of fire in these landscapes. As such this large opening was created to encourage it's [sic] regeneration. Loggers are contractors of the landowners/land managers, and as such do not have discretion as to the layout of the harvest or other design features. They perform the contract. This forester must have an artistic side.”

3. A Guitar

Across the globe, another romantic husband in mourning wanted to do something big to memorialize his wife, who suffered a cerebral aneurysm while pregnant and died at the age of 25. Graciela Yraizoz loved the guitar, so her husband plotted out a replica on their Argentinian farm that stretches nearly 2/3 of a mile long. The outline is made mostly of cypress trees, while the “strings” are formed by blue eucalyptus.

4. The word "Studebaker"

There’s a Studebaker in this forest near South Bend, Indiana—and I don’t mean a car. It’s been there since 1937, when the company planted 5,000 pine trees at their proving grounds. The park is apparently publicly accessible now, with signs on the ground helpfully explaining which group of trees is which letter.

5. A Swastika

A forest about 60 miles north of Berlin used to reveal a terrible secret every fall. It seems a Nazi sympathizer once planted a cluster of larch trees in the shape of a swastika. When the trees turned yellow every fall, they stood out against the evergreen forest, showcasing their message of hate. Once the trees were discovered, Brandenburg state authorities removed some in the hopes of disrupting the design. They eventually grew back, and in 2000, the larch trees were cut down entirely.

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Dan Bell
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Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

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The North Face
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The North Face's New Geodesic Dome Tent Will Protect You in 60 mph Wind
The North Face
The North Face

You can find camping tents designed for easy set-up, large crowds, and sustainability, but when it comes to strength, there’s only so much abuse a foldable structure can take. Now, The North Face is pushing the limits of tent durability with a reimagined design. According to inhabitat, the Geodome 4 relies on its distinctive geodesic shape to survive wind gusts approaching hurricane strength.

Instead of the classic arching tent structure, the Geodome balloons outward like a globe. It owes its unique design to the five main poles and one equator pole that hold it in place. Packed up, the gear weighs just over 24 pounds, making it a practical option for car campers and four-season adventurers. When it’s erected, campers have floor space measuring roughly 7 feet by 7.5 feet, enough to sleep four people, and 6 feet and 9 inches of space from ground to ceiling if they want to stand. Hooks attached to the top create a system for gear storage.

While it works in mild conditions, the tent should really appeal to campers who like to trek through harsher weather. Geodesic domes are formed from interlocking triangles. A triangle’s fixed angles make it one of the strongest shapes in engineering, and when used in domes, triangles lend this strength to the overall structure. In the case of the tent, this means that the dome will maintain its form in winds reaching speeds of 60 mph. Meanwhile, the double-layered, water-resistant exterior keeps campers dry as they wait out the storm.

The Geodome 4 is set to sell for $1635 when it goes on sale in Japan this March. In the meantime, outdoorsy types in the U.S. will just have to wait until the innovative product expands to international markets.

[h/t inhabitat]

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