The Tallest known Lodgepole Pine in the world

Hello all,

Today I got the chance to head over to the other side of Calpine Pass, to a Lodgepole Pine ( Pinus contorta var murrayana) Grove that CA-89 cuts right through the heart of.  This forest contains many very tall Lodgepole Pines, including one that I measured today that is now the tallest known Sierra Lodgepole Pine in the world!  The tree measures 131.10′ tall, and 8′ 4″ CBH.  Next to it is another very tall Lodgepole (didn’t measure the height), with a CBH of 10′ 11″.  Afterwards, Grandpa noticed a very big White Fir snag up the hill.  It is 14′ 3″ CBH.

It really delights me to have a world record under my belt now.  Photos courtesy of Bill Harnach.


I found out on 1/28/16 that the tree ISN’T the world’s tallest.  According to Arkansas Big Tree hunter Jess Riddle, he measured two 147′ Lodgepoles and a 150′ Lodgepole in the Bucks Lake Wilderness a few years ago.  However, this still means that the four tallest Sierra Lodgepole Pines are all in the Plumas National Forest.  A little disappointing, but I still believe I will find the tallest in not too long.



The Chrysolepis Expedition : A Chestnut and two Live Oaks

Hello all,

I’m going to recount to all of you yesterday’s expedition.  On January 16th, 2016, we headed down the Yuba River Canyon to the Cal-Ida Campground in Indian Valley, to look at some big hardwoods.  The first tree measured was a Chestnut that was probably planted between 1855 and 1870.  To be honest, the Chestnut was actually two trees.  The larger trunk was 10′ 3″ CBH and 54.77′ H.  The other, a leaning trunk, was 46.09′ H and 9′ 7.5″ CBH.  The day was starting to look a little like a flop, but then in another part of the campground I spotted a Canyon Live Oak that was ENORMOUS!  At 24′ 1″ CBH and 76. 86′ H, it was the largest tree of the day.  Afterwards, we bid Grandma and Grandpa’s friends Robyn, Arlo, Bill and Rodger adieu, and then travelled up Highway 49 a few more miles to Depot Hill.  There we measured another Live Oak in the pouring rain.  The tree was 17′ 10″ CBH.  The circumference had to be measured by Grandpa and I while holding on to ropes attached to the back of the car.  The slope was incredibly steep.  We didn’t get a height measurement either, because at that point the rain increased in intensity.  Then we headed back towards Calpine, absolutely soaked.

Now for the photos, courtesy of both myself and Grandpa.

2015 Year in Review

Hello all,

I first had the inspiration to do this when I saw John Montague, one of Michael Taylor’s many tree-hunting friends, do one of his “year in review” posts on Facebook.  His list of accomplishments for 2015 is quite impressive.  But without further ado, it is time for the Sierra County Big Trees Project’s 2015 Tree Year in Review!

5/11/2015 t0 5/17/2015:  Family trip to Olympic National Park, Washington.  The seeds of tree interest are sown in my mind after this trip.

Early June 2015: Grandpa, Grandma and their friend Sharon first bring a giant Sugar Pine in Goodyears’ Bar to my attention.  Grandpa then suggests that we should start documenting the giant trees of the area.  The Sierra County Big Trees Project is then born.

8/8/2015: After a hike, Grandpa, Grandma and my sister Jade run across three giant conifers on a back road.  We eventually find out that this area of old-growth extends across the entire mountainside for several miles.  The area is given the name “Forest of the Kings”.

9/20/2015: A return to the area known alternatively as “Forest of the Kings” and “Giant’s Forest”.  Two giant Douglas-Firs are measured with the owner of part of the forest, Mr. William Copren.  One, the “Chuck Hardesty Tree”, becomes the largest Doug-Fir known in the two counties and my personal favorite big tree.

9/30/2015: On Grandpa and Grandma’s final meet-up of the year with Sharon, I accompany them to measure the Sugar in Goodyears’ Bar.  It becomes the largest known tree in the county.

10/17/2015: A trek looking for a grove of Giant Sequoias planted on the Yuba Pass in the 1960s by Chuck Hardesty.  We didn’t find the sequoias, but we did locate two giant Western White Pines and a giant Red Fir.  One Western White and the Fir went on to become County Records.

11/6/2015: The locating of the “Collins Pine”, largest known tree of Plumas, Sierra and Tehama Counties, by Michael Taylor and myself.  The tree’s exact location will remain undisclosed to respect the Collins Pine Company’s wishes about the tree’s secrecy.

11/22/2015: The year’s final tree measuring day; Michael Taylor teaches me how to use the Criterion 400 forestry laser that he gave me on a trip to measure the height of the “Grandfather Giant” in Goodyears’ Bar.  The tree turns out to be 31′ taller than the previous measurement.

And that was 2015.  A great first year for the project, and hopefully 2016 will be even better.  Thanks goes to Jennifer Kennedy, Christian Kennedy, William Harnach and Nancy Harnach for their constant support.  Thanks also goes to Gregg Scott, for interviewing me, drafting up, and then publishing a news story that has boosted the number of tree reports I have been getting, to Michael Taylor for his mentorship and the Criterion 400 laser, to B.J Jordan and Michael Hogan for their interest and to William Copren for his tour of the giant Douglas-Firs and access to his tract of forest.  If I’m forgetting anyone, please feel free to leave a comment.

Happy New Year,



The local Big Tree Register

Hello all,

Happy 2016!  May your new year be quite fine.  To start off 2016, I’ve decided to embark on something ambitious.  I am going to launch a big tree register; similar to the ones at the state and national levels that gauge tree size by a points system.  Sierra County Big Trees will continue to measure and document this year and for some time to come.  Last year was a rip-roaring success, and this year looks even more fantastic.

Since I’ve got some down time this winter, I’ll begin organizing the register.  A website now exists, but there won’t be anything on it for a while.  Sierra County Big Trees will still be the main site, and will be where all the trip reports and such are posted.  I’m in the process of designing a nomination form that will be downloadable from the other site.  I will also write articles explaining the measurements – Circumference, Height, Crown Spread and Volume.  The new Register will also have something in common with the Washington State, British Columbia and Great Britain registers – all list not just the points champ, but also the height, crown, diameter and volume champs.

Anyway, Happy Holidays and New Year.