12/05/2012

Searching For Evidence of Big Trees


One of several Balch creek giant Douglas fir. Oct, 2008 Photo by Micah

If you are here chances are you recognize and respect the importance of trees, especially the old growth. Do I have a treat for you.

In this post I am pleased to highlight a fellow tree lover and blogger that resides in the big tree state of Washington, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Essentially, we share what was once a continuous coniferous forest that ranged from northern California to Alaska.

photo by Micah
"Macleay Park-Forest Park, Portland. Sep. 2011. One of the larger trees I measured in the Balch creek canyon. 5 ft 6 inches diameter, at 4 1/2  ft. and 242 feet tall. May be one of the tallest trees in Portland, and probably over 300 years old. Forest Park was logged extensively in the 1880-1940′s, and most of the forest is only 50 to 100 years old — with pockets of 200 to 500 year old giants."

Few of the original big trees of the forest remain there, as here, but Micah has made it part of his work to seek out those last holdouts. He has also been conducting historical research to try and get a glimpse at what the forest was like prior to industrial exploitation.

He commented on VIBT recently:
"I tossed together most of the accounts I compiled in the last couple years and some photos I found on the internet and old books into one concise blog post recently-- listing all the Doug references, stories, and measurements of Doug firs from 300 feet and up I could find. There are definitely hundreds more I could add if I had access to museum archives, libraries etc. And a similar list could be compiled of Sitka Spruce, and Noble fir, Grand fir-- and the giant western red cedars. One account mentions a 407 foot cedar tree!!!...Although I am not sure how reliable it is, cool to imagine!"
photo by Micah
 "This giant tree must have originally been over 200 feet, maybe 250 before losing its top and was one of the thickest trees I saw on Whidbey Island. Mere cord wood compared to the largest giants logged in this area which topped 300+ feet. I stand beneath it for scale."

 Check out this post to see some of the results of Micah's work. Amazing trees that are just the "table scraps of a once immense forest".

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