Klootchy Creek Giant

I’ve driven past Klootchy Creek County Park on Highway 26 around milepost 2 south of Seaside many dozens of times.  But I haven’t stopped since the main attraction was suddenly altered on December 2, 2007.  Probably haven’t visited since before the kids started joining our family in 2000.

A sign on the highway still reads that it’s the home of the largest Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) in the United States, and the largest tree in Oregon.  It’s the first tree designated as an Oregon State Heritage Tree. Here’s what it looks like now.

IMG_5274

Still an awe-inspiring sight, though this tree’s 500-750 year life span was brought to an end by a December 2007 wind storm which broke the tree along a previous lighting scar, and caused it to break off at 80 feet from the ground.  It’s shown here cut further down to about 40 feet for safety reasons.  More information on this tree can be found here.

Two 17-foot diameter sections of the upper portion of the tree remain on site for visitors to examine.  Here’s a 4-year-old human to give an idea of scale.

IMG_5275

Perfect for this 11-year old climber.

IMG_5279

I find it achingly sad that this giant is no longer living as it once did, standing at a proud height of over 200 feet.  Yet at the same time, although this tree quietly occupied this earth, growing slowly over hundreds of years, the catastrophic end to its life happens at only one moment in time.  As its contemporaries we were witness to this dramatic event.  And now we watch this tree continue to serve a vital ecological function as its decaying trunk and enormous logs slowly convert to nurse log material, promoting establishment of vegetation, and in time mature forest trees.

Will one of the surrounding Sitka spruce trees some day become the next Klootchy Creek giant?

IMG_5281

IMG_5283

IMG_5273

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Heritage trees and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Klootchy Creek Giant

  1. Heather says:

    Can I just say how glad I am that you blog? You find the most wonderful stuff.

  2. Ricki Grady says:

    I second Heather’s comment.

  3. missdovey says:

    i visited this tree when i first started coming to oregon, in the early 90’s. now i am going to try and see the largest black cottonwood in the u.s., supposedly here in the willamette valley at willamette mission state park. http://www.oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=99

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s