Nominated by Graham Herbst
My nomination for Great American Tree goes to our State Champion swamp white oak, in Elmwood Park, Omaha Nebraska. This 249 point tree is over 13 ft in stem circumference, and at its’ widest point spreads 110 ft. The park itself is 120 years old and the tree is estimated to be 70-100 years old, which is not too shabby for the Great Plains. While other swamp white oaks in Eastern Nebraska survived over 100 days under 4 feet of water during the Missouri River flooding of 2011, this woody sentinel stands on a hot, wide-open west-facing slope as a testament to the adaptability of the species.
The Nebraska Forest Service and Nebraska Statewide Arboretum partner each year to host a FREE recreational tree climb in this tree during Omaha’s Earth Day celebration. When an adjacent maple was removed downhill from this tree, the crowding caused a spectacular, stage-like opening in the canopy that is perfect for unobstructed rope access. Hundreds of participants (ages 7-68) have ascended one of 14 ropes hung in the tree to get an amazing view of the festivities and a new experience with our community forest canopy.