National Canopy Coverage

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Death of the tallest known Ponderosa Pine

This post is in memory of one of the world’s tallest known pines. Big Pine campground became a designated spot for hikers, 20 miles southwest of Grant’s Pass. The big pine that dominated the landscape enjoyed many years of worldwide travelers looking to sneak a peak at its glorious countenance. Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest’s giant pine measured to an astounding 250 feet before it met its untimely demise, another victim of the ruthless pine beetle.

This prominent tree made the 1989 heritage tree list commemorating the 200th anniversary of the signing of the U. S. Constitution. This tree, among only 60 other trees nationwide, was a designated Living Witness Tree for the U. S. Constitution Bicentennial. The bark of these pines can be traced to a time where they were crafted into a canoe to assist Lewis and Clark as they crossed the Columbian river. These prehistoric trees are a testimony to the history of our nation, describing the vitality of America’s canopy as far back as the signing of the constitution.

The health of our forests is important to our future, as they have played a huge role in the history that has shaped our nation. The ecological importance of America’s old growth is boundless, present during a time in which no living humans remain. Local ecosystems persist around them and thrive because of them. Historic trees preserve national secrets as well as demonstrate the resilience of our nation. We hope the legacy of the Ponderosa Pine of Grant Pass in the form of its bronzed plaque can be preserved in the Smithsonian Museum of American History for future generations to admire.

Despite its passing, this tree still stands. Nearby campgrounds have been closed for the safety of travelers.

Michael Oxman, an ISA arborist committed to getting the marker to the Smithsonian, brought the passing of this pine to our attention.

Background information regarding Ponderosa Pines graciously provided by NPR. The article titled Ponderosa Pines: Rugged Trees With A Sweet Smell composed by Daniel Kraker can be found here: http://www.npr.org/2009/08/17/111803772/ponderosa-pines-rugged-trees-with-a-sweet-smell

As well as information provided by Terry Richard who composed World's tallest ponderosa pine climbed, measured at 268 feet outside Grants Pass. This article can be found here: http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2011/12/worlds_tallest_ponderosa_pine.html#comments

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