Historical Snippets

The “Big Tree”
By: Lynne Rice

Colleen Jossart (of Clam Lake) told me she had read an article about the “Big Tree” many years ago. This tree was one of the last remaining white pines of the past. She couldn’t remember where or what – only that it was in our Forest and she wanted to see it. We mentioned it to Bob Bay and he said, “I know where that is!” So, we were off on one of our “history haunts” with Bob leading the way.

And find it we did! We had the calculations on how to determine age without cutting a tree down, so proceeded with tape measure in hand. The “Big Tree” measures 12 feet around at the proper height for calibrating age. Following the formula for white pine – done by two different people, the age came out at 230 years. The “Big Tree” would have been a seedling in 1787, five years after the end of the Revolutionary War. It has seen everything from Native Americans walking beside it to huge logging companies and wild fires (somehow leaving it uscathed), to the men of the CCC rebuilding the forest around it.

Touching it felt like touching history.

Note from the “Big Tree”: If you happen to come upon me in the forest please treat me with kindness and respect. That way I can continue my journey through time so your children and grandchildren may visit me one day too.