The quiet giants that surround us

We visited this 500-year-old Western red cedar on our mini family vacation. It is within South Whidbey State Park and was saved from logging in the 70’s by tree huggers who wrapped themselves around it to protect it for future generations to enjoy. Thank you, tree huggers! I love walking through first growth forest because it is so rare these days. As I was hiking along the trail, I was reminded of early accounts of logger in the Pacific Northwest who didn’t even bother with trees less than 12 feet in diameter in a day when 30-foot-diameter doug firs were totally commonplace. Unbelievable! Here is my boy looking like a little hobbit or wood elf next to a huge cedar.

Here’s a old photo taken not too far from where we live. I’d love to have seen the conversation between the husband and wife when they decided to live in a stump.

The oldest tree I’ve ever seen is a bristlecone pine in Great Basin National Park, Nevada. 2,000 years old! That means it was around since the time of Christ! These trees grow very very slowly in cold climates above the treeline with poor soils, which make them grow to be very resilient. Even a pine needle on this tree lives for a full 50 years! I took this photo while on a field trip in college with my forest management class.

Here’s my last tree for today. This is the world’s largest spruce tree, located just outside Olympic National Forest. It’s about 1,000 years old. I visited this tree while working on a native plant seed collection project in the National Forest. Also on the Olympic Pennisula are the world’s largest Douglas fir, Western redcedar, and mountain hemlock PLUS the USA’s largest yellow cedar and Western hemlock. Good place to visit if you want to see record-breaking trees!

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This entry was published on April 21, 2011 at 11:20 am and is filed under Nature. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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