The Aberdeen countryside was a treeless plain. “No tree to wave … only the faint melancholy soughing of the wind in the short grass,” is pioneer novelist Hamlin Garland’s description in Main Traveled Roads. Garland’s family homesteaded on the wildgrass prairie of Brown County. Today all the farms are ringed by trees, and Aberdeen is a veritable urban forest that includes a multitude of tree species, including South Dakota’s largest Manchurian apricot and paper birch. Trees grow big here, so long as they aren’t trampled by bison herds. Enjoy the forest by walking the streets, especially those around NSU, and in 25-acre Melgaard Park, south of the campus (with RV campsites). The newest wilderness is Kuhnert Arboretum, which is also south of the campus; though a work in progress, it has walking paths, ornamental gardens and 64 varieties of trees.