From Ashes to Artistry: The Fantasy Forest In Southwest Michigan
There is a Fantasy Forest that exists in Southwest Michigan. It is a forest that has been ravaged by the invasive emerald ash borer, leaving a host of dying trees waning within the boundaries of the Leila Arboretum in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Leila Arboretum is the namesake of Leila Post Montgomery, the widow of cereal magnate C.W. Post. It was in 1922 when she purchased the 90 acres of land for $90,000, donating it to the City of Battle Creek for horticultural and educational purposes.
A Beautiful Woodland Is Struck By An Invasive Species
In 2015, seeing the devastation of the ash trees in the arboretum, Leila Arboretum Society Executive Director Brett Myers tried to come up with a solution to the death of the ash trees in the woodland. In an interview with the Battle Creek Enquirer, Myers said,
I remember being out there and wondering what the heck we're going to do with 44 green and white ash trees that are nearly 100 years old that were dying.
Out of this grim situation rose the phoenix of the Fantasy Forest. The dying ash trees would become the canvas for the creation of wood sculptures created by chainsaw artists competing in the Fantasy Forest Chainsaw Festival.
Chainsaw Art Adorns The Fantasy Forest
The Chainsaw Artists Return Once More
Chainsaw artists from across the nation are once again returning to Battle Creek to take part in the Fantasy Forest Chainsaw Festival, a now-annual event. They will be creating as many as 6 new carvings for permanent installation at Fantasy Forest.
The three-day event takes place October 5th through October 7th, 2023, offering food trucks, a beer garden, and quick carve demonstrations. A live auction will take place at 4 p.m. on the final day of the event, Saturday, October 7th. Take a stroll through the gallery below: