2015 Great American Tree Competition

Ancient Tree

Nominated by:  Dave Wenning

I would like to submit this Ancient Douglas Fir for the Great American Tree Search.

 Species:  Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

 Location:  West Beach, Sand Dune Interpretive Trail, Deception Pass State Park, Washington (48.396149, –122.663494)

Why it is special:  The tree’s age (>850 years) and tangled growth pattern

 One of the iconic trees of the Pacific Northwest, we know the Douglas Fir as a lofty timber tree.  In height, it grows second only to the Giant Sequoia.  This tree, however, has had a different experience.  At its highest point, it is only about 30 feet tall.  Located at the east end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, this section of the park experiences ocean-like conditions.  This includes violent winds during the winter and drifting sand dunes.  The tree is growing at the edge of the dune forest.  The park’s interpretive sign describes it best:

Ancient Tree

“For over 850 years this Douglas Fir has stood witness to the forming and changing of these dunes.  Thick bark and strong wood have served well against storm, fire, drought and disease.  Through all of this time it has offered generations of people its leaves for shelter, limbs for climbing and branches for sitting.  Its bark is strong but thinning from so much climbing.  Love it gently.  Look on it with thoughts of the times it has seen.  Find its stillness while you listen to the forest, dunes and sea.  Wonder at what forces sculpted it so.  Reflect on the ways its relatives touch your lives.  Love it gently and it will live to shelter your children and theirs as well.”

As a final thought, the interpretive sign includes the end of the poem, “The Giving Tree:”

           “Come boy, sit down.  Sit down and rest.”

And the boy did.  And the tree was happy.  The end.

          --Shel Silverstein

Thanks very much,

 Dave Wenning

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2015's Winner

That Tree was the winner of the 2015 Great American Tree Competition.