Skateboarders from Riverton, Lander, Casper, Cody and Wind River Reservation came out for the Riverton Skate Jam which also included an Arbor Day tree-planting ceremony in Riverton City Park on Saturday, April 30.
Allan Enos, of Fort Washakie, performed a cedaring ceremony around those attending, the skatepark, and on the young oak tree being planted nearby. Also present were members of the Riverton Tree Board planting the tree, with City Administrator Tony Tolstedt delivering the proclamation on behalf of Mayor Richard Gard proclaiming April 30, 2022, as the 21st-anniversary celebration of Arbor Day. The City of Riverton is recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Matthew Wright from the Central Wyoming Skateboarding Association addressed the crowd about the significance of the trees in City Park and the tree that was being planted. Some old trees had been taken out of the park, and “it didn’t sit well with me,” Wright said. He said that a Native elder approached him at a previous city park event and spoke with him about how the older trees were hurting.
“Six years ago we built this concrete structure,” he said. “It’s a lot different than the rest of this place…we have grass, we have trees. Look around. We’ve got nature here and I’m finding spirituality in that.”
I want to give some attention to the younger people who are here right now,” Wright continued. “That tree, when it’s in the ground, it’s new; it’s fresh. It needs care. It needs water, just like us. It’s more fluid, more shapeable. You could say it’s more teachable. When it gets older it becomes more rigid, solid, and set in its ways, like older people. So I want you guys to feel free, and to feel fluid, to feel teachable, and to take care of yourselves, and respect the people who are taking care of you. I’m just glad you’re here. This means a lot to me.”
Skateboarders, skaters and scooter riders enjoyed music, Indian tacos, and an afternoon raffle. Wright said that they plan to plant three more trees.
“This is city property, and at one time, it wasn’t,” he said. “This is just another time in history, but right now these trees are here because they’re maintained and watered and were once planted and cared for. So it’s kind of a neat thing that we’re doing; it’s kind of balancing things out.”