The Trail Tree Project has collected the data on thousands of Marker Trees located across the US and Canada in well over a decade. Analysis of those trees has shown that many of the trees can be categorized by typical characteristic shapes which may serve particular purposes. The purpose of every bent tree cannot be determined but interpreting some of the trees has begun. With extensive research, typical shape characteristics have been identified with a special purpose. These purposes include Marker trees for Trails, Water Sources, Shelter, Stream Crossing Points, Directional Pointer, Ceremonial Sites, Burial sites and more.
The Marker Trees described in this section are typical for most of the tribes in the US and Canada. However, some tribes such as the Utes, Comanche and others bent trees differently since they did not have hardwoods to bent but rather pines. They also used trees for food and medicine. Their trees are often categorized under the term Culturally Modified Trees (CMT). To learn more about these trees, we suggest you read the books authored by John Anderson. Information about the Comanche trees can be found in the book, Comanche Marker Trees of Texas by Steve Houser, Linda Pelon and Jimmy Arterberry.