The McAlester Arboretum features 25 acres of some of the most unique trees and plants in the country, including one of the largest collections of named cultivars of Oaks and Redbuds west of the Mississippi River.
The Arboretum is arranged along the Mike Deak Walking Track, a 1-mile track around the McAlester Public Schools’ Mike Deak Baseball Field and city soccer and softball fields on the south side of McAlester. The track is along 13th Street from Franklin Avenue on the north to McArthur Lane on the south.
The Arboretum was started in 1981 by a group of Boy Scouts as a “bucket brigade” in which the pine trees they planted were watered by buckets. Later, a shade-tree project for the city’s walking track grew to what today encompasses more than 750 trees and other plants.
The trees at the Arboretum include Oaks, Redbuds, Elms, Maples, Ginkgos, Evergreens, Cypresses, Sweetgums, Aspens, Birches and Willows. McAlester Land Maintenance Supervisor Sherman Miller believes the Arboretum’s 62 named cultivars of Oaks and 32 of Redbuds represent the largest collection of the trees in the region.