If there had been a prize for guessing the number of crabapple trees in the city of Littleton, Larry Borger would not have claimed it with his estimate of 2,000.
As it turns out, there are 6,727.
“I was astonished how many flowering …
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“I was astonished how many flowering crabapple trees there are in the city when you actually begin looking for them,” said Borger, a former city manager. “What started 40 years ago as a city beautification program for street rights of way has mushroomed with community support. Literally thousands of property owners have planted them on private property over the years.”
By Borger's calculations, that's one crabapple tree for every six and one-quarter residents.
“The number is staggering,” said Cole Hancock, the Eagle Scout who organized the effort to count them all in his quest to get Littleton in the Guinness Book of World Records. “It's really great to see the community come together for this project, and I am excited to see if we can really break a world record.”
Hancock recruited 16 volunteers who spent a total of nearly 97 hours combing the streets for the brightly flowering trees that are becoming a symbol of the city. He's has been tending to the trees since 2011, when he took on the cause for his Eagle Scout project.
That's the same year signs went up marking the city's Crabapple Route, conceived of by former Mayor Vaughn Gardinier. It was his idea 45 years ago to line Littleton's streets with the hardy, colorful crabapple trees not just to make them pretty, but to give the city something unique.
Gardinier died in 2012, but his wife, Mary, still sits on the board of LCTI with Borger. She says he was hoping to arrange for horse-drawn carriages to someday trot the trail.
Hancock and others from Littleton Boy Scout Troop 361 planted about 30 new trees along the seven-mile Crabapple Route in April, adding to the 100 they've planted since 2011. These days, they plant trees that flower but don't bear fruit, making for a less messy flourish of beauty each spring.
“The Littleton Crabapple Trail is currently working to get the city council to approve the acknowledgement of these numbers to become the `Crabapple Capital of Colorado,' or maybe even the nation,” said Hancock.
To that end, they drafted a resolution for council's consideration. It reads, in part: “Given all the positive public attention to its beautification program and participation by countless individuals and groups, and given that no other municipality in Colorado can match that effort, Littleton modestly but proudly declares itself the `Flowering Crabapple Capitol of Colorado.' ”
For more information and to see a map of the trail, visit www.littletoncrabappletrail.org.
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