In the deepest reaches of the forests of Kansas, a strange and magical series of events have begun to unfold along a seemingly normal walking trail. The landscape of the park itself is gorgeous, but the Tomahawk Creek Trail has its own special sorcery. As you walk along the dappled forest path, you cross into “The Firefly Forest”, a special grove where several of the trees have been expertly crafted to look like a little fairy village. The worlds that their tiny doors safekeep capture the imagination and inspire the soul. As the Fisher family discovered during their visit to Firefly Forest in 2013, this storied little stand of trees will have you seeing the world in a whole new way.
The home of Tomahawk Creek Trail and the Firefly Forest is in Overland Park, Kansas. According to sources, tiny doors were suddenly discovered on various trees throughout the forest at the outskirts of town. When doors were opened, they revealed delightfully detailed dwellings in the hollow of the tree.
A New Name
As these diminutive treehouses began appearing in the forest only a few years ago, the locals collectively named the place “Firefly Forest”. Man tourists flock from all over to see these colorful and creative works of art; however, as time went by, more and more people began to wonder exactly where the tiny houses came from.
A Fairy Godmother
Sadly, these tiny fairy homes were not the result of enchantment, but rather the efforts of local Overland Park resident Robyn Frampton. During a stressful divorce, Robyn decided to start creating the tiny homes with her son to help him cope with the separation and give them a momentary escape to their own fantasy world.
Secret No More
In time, it wasn’t just Robyn and her children who were visiting the fairy wood she had built. Families and children throughout the community began to discover the Frampton’s project. Neighbors and their families said that “Firefly Forest” gave them a much needed escape as well, just as it had been for her and her children when she first started creating the fairy houses.
Details, Details, Details…
While visitors raved about the fairy doors themselves, they flocked to “Firefly Forest” for the unique details. Within the trees themselves, Robyn often placed tiny kitchens, little beds, and other living spaces. Occasionally she would even change an interior design in specific houses, as if to show that a new fairy had moved in. Robin even built a house specifically for visitors to leave notes for the fairies, too.
One such family that left a note was the Fishers. Kelly and her husband often strolled along the Tomahawk Creek Trail to see the fairy homes and marvel at the creativity and details. Their visits were to ease the pain of grief for their three-year-old daughter Allie, who they had tragically lost to brain cancer. Allie loved the woods and trails, and her parents often called her their “little owl”. The note they left in the fairy house was in memory of their sweet little girl.
As one can imagine, Robyn receives many notes in the fairy mailbox, but none so touching as the one that the Fisher’s had written for Allie. It was then that Robyn decided that she needed to do something in support of the grieving couple, and so she decided to create a door for the family and their now gone but still beloved daughter.
A Place To Call Her Own
Robyn searched for just the right place to put Allie’s door, finally settling on a tree stump which she hollowed out for the tiny house. She painted the door green, placed a tiny owl on it, and inscribed it with Allie’s nickname. The Fisher’s were overjoyed when they saw the door along the trail, and were deeply grateful for a place they could go to remember their daughter. Sadly, it was not to last…
Cease and Desist
As the houses grew more and more popular, the local Director of Park Services, Greg Ruether, began to grow concerned. As director of parks, it was Greg’s responsibility to see that the tiny homes were maintained, which required someone who was willing to dedicate the time,effort, and money to keeping “Firefly Forest” in good shape. Since the Parks Department couldn’t make that happen, it was ruled that all of the tiny homes must be removed. Fortunately, this is not where the story of “Firefly Forest” ends.
Endings and Beginnings
Despite her kind and thoughtful gesture for the Fishers, Robyn had to pack up all of the houses. She moved her family to Utah shortly after, taking the fairy homes with her.
One Last Door
While the majority of the tiny houses had to be removed, Robyn left a single fairy home behind: the tiny fairy door and room she had created in memory of little Allie Fisher. Clearly, she understood the Fishers need for that place, and she did her best to preserve it before moving away.
And Maybe One Day Soon…
A documentary was produced about Robyn’s story called “The Gnomist”. Following the success of the film, Robyn has garnered support from around the world. She is currently hard at work on a large-scale project for the Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. There are also rumors in the area that tiny doors have begun to appear in the forests of Utah as well. Amazing how such a small, selfless project for her children has become a worldwide sensation. Now, thanks to crowdsourcing and widespread public support, Robyn Frampton will keep on impacting lives of children and their families for many years to come.