CENTRAL POINT — An acre and a half of trees near Crater High School will one day serve as an arboretum, adding to the city's inventory of park space.

CENTRAL POINT — An acre and a half of trees near Crater High School will one day serve as an arboretum, adding to the city's inventory of park space.

The property is the subject of a "life deed," in which property owner Wally Skyrman will pass the property on to the city at his death. The site has at times served as a tree nursery.

Skyrman, who declined to be interviewed, has owned the property, which was homesteaded by his family in the 1800s, for 50 years.

Parks and Recreation Manager Matt Samitore said the land is "a beautiful site" with an extensive collection of mature trees, including some that could be recognized under the state's Heritage Tree program.

Samitore said preliminary plans for the site include an arboretum and educational center, and potentially an area for tree propagation that could provide replacement trees for the city's parks.

Samitore said the site could be similar to the much-used Palmerton Park Arboretum in Rogue River and would add some needed large trees to the city's tree canopy.

"The unique thing about this particular park would be that we don't have many parks built in the last 15 years that have a lot of mature trees. This park would give residents a place on a really hot day to go sit in the shade."

Nancy Appling Salucci, a local tree expert, said the property will provide a valuable legacy for the entire region.

"Knowing what trees are there, this is a huge boon to not just Central Point but the entire Rogue Valley," she said. "We don't have that many old evergreens around this valley. It's important to save these old and significant trees."

She added, "Central Point is really, I believe, moving ahead, in noticing how important our trees are."

Salucci, who nominated the "Beall Lane black walnut tree" and a silver maple at Seven Oaks farm for the state Heritage Tree program, said among other notable specimens on the property is a digger pine that could be the state's largest.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.