Truly giant trees of the past

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
Plaintiger
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Truly giant trees of the past

Post by Plaintiger » May 26th, 2018, 4:41 pm

Hello Everyone,
I'm new to this forum and this is a topic that I spend a lot of time thinking about, and is part of what sparked my "geeky obsession" with old growth forests.

I've seen some images on the internet and in Van Pelt's Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast of trees that were reportedly bigger and taller than anything known to be standing today.
I believe the tallest doug fir currently is the 320 ft brummit fir in Oregon, and the widest one that I know of is the Red Creek fir in BC. I've seen a few record/near-record sized trees but nothing quite like some of these historic trees.

There's this photo I found allegedly of a 22ft diameter douglas fir in Oregon:
http://www.vannattabros.com/histlog18.html

The "Nooksak giant" said to have been maybe 465 feet tall:
"Newspaper reports of a 465-foot fir, logged in 1897 at Loop’s Ranch...in the North Fork Nooksack River valley..."
https://www.seattletimes.com/life/giant ... forgotten/

"God's Valley Spruce", in Oregon, around 20 ft diameter: couldnt find much information about this one, I think I maybe read it about in Van Pelt's book.
this is the only picture I could find and only shows part of the base:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.pinter ... rce=images


Does anyone think the reported size of some of these trees like the Mineral Fir were greatly exagerated? I find the idea of a 465 ft douglas fir really haunting but a bit far-fetched, most of these trees aren't too reliably documented.
It's fascinating though, I don't doubt a doug fir could reach heights up to or maybe over 350 feet in the right conditions. It makes me wonder if there is still a tree or a grove of trees like that out there still, though I'd be amazed if it survived the past century of logging. I'd love to see a douglas fir like that some day.

Aimless
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Re: Truly giant trees of the past

Post by Aimless » May 26th, 2018, 7:12 pm

While there may well have been some exaggeration involved with trees that were being publicized by boosters seeking to attract attention to their area, I'd say that many of those record-sized trees were measured as accurately as the people measuring them were able to manage, as a point of local pride, because genuine pride in the tree would have avoided lying knowingly or on purpose.

Steve20050
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Re: Truly giant trees of the past

Post by Steve20050 » June 3rd, 2018, 3:13 pm

I have to agree with Aimless. It was probably more an exaggeration for promotional reasons as a possibility. The tallest coast redwoods today are 370+ feet and they have always been described as taller than firs. I think one tops out at 380 feet. That's a lot shorter than what you describe of past firs. Once when a kid I recall the forest service describing one episode where a giant Sequoia in the Sierras was stripped of its bark and sent back east to give people an idea of just how big these trees were. I can't recall if a fire burned the remains or they lost them?

I do agree that with old photos of some cut down firs, the bases were gigantic. Seems they never tried to photograph the actual length as much as loggers standing on stumps, LOL. Many of these monsters were also in the lower elevation creek drainages favorable to larger growth and also were the first to be logged as they were easier to get at.

If it helps understand the issue of promotion of the west, one exploration party of 1850s thought Mount Hood was close to 18,000 feet. Obviously not even close, but I'm sure it peaked persons curiosity about the west.

Webfoot
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Re: Truly giant trees of the past

Post by Webfoot » June 3rd, 2018, 11:06 pm

I was afraid this was going to be a flat-Earth thread. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/arc ... rs/499322/

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mdvaden
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Re: Truly giant trees of the past

Post by mdvaden » December 29th, 2018, 10:42 pm

I have a research paper by Dr. Sillett the HSU researcher who studies trees. He believes approximately 396 ft. was a very credible measure for Douglas fir, indicating he feels that species is documented taller than any coast redwood measured so far.

RE giant trees, here's recent discovery I will be sharing in several threads. A coast redwood.

As of 2017, we realized that Gen. Sherman is not the largest single stem tree. There are a couple of contenders that have not been published.

Z_Titan_1200mdv.jpg

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aiwetir
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Re: Truly giant trees of the past

Post by aiwetir » December 30th, 2018, 12:33 am

Who wants to go chase a possible record silver fir on the Olympic Peninsula with me one day? I gotta figure out how to measure the height
- Michael

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retired jerry
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Re: Truly giant trees of the past

Post by retired jerry » December 30th, 2018, 6:33 am

Yeah, those Douglas Firs in the Redwoods are huge. I could believe they're taller than redwoods. That soil/climate must be good for growing trees. At the beginning of the Rhododendron Trail, it goes along this fallen Douglas Fir. That thing is amazing.

There were these groups of wealthy people from San Francisco that bought up land to preserve it, maybe 100 years ago. As you walk along trails, they have small signs recognizing different tracts. Thus, there's a lot of low elevation land with lots of precipitation to grow big trees. Most of the precipitation comes from the tree absorbing water from fog - according to some informational sign :)

At that same time in Oregon, they were cutting trees and sending them down to San Francisco :)

Plaintiger
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Re: Truly giant trees of the past

Post by Plaintiger » January 16th, 2019, 9:38 am

aiwetir wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 12:33 am
Who wants to go chase a possible record silver fir on the Olympic Peninsula with me one day? I gotta figure out how to measure the height
I would love to!

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foreverpossessed
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Re: Truly giant trees of the past

Post by foreverpossessed » January 17th, 2019, 1:21 pm

aiwetir wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 12:33 am
Who wants to go chase a possible record silver fir on the Olympic Peninsula with me one day? I gotta figure out how to measure the height
A drone would probably be the easiest way.

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retired jerry
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Re: Truly giant trees of the past

Post by retired jerry » January 17th, 2019, 1:51 pm

someone of known height stands next to tree

someone else goes way back, then uses a stick like a pencil held out with your finger where the someone of know height is

then you just use that as a measure, count up how many of those heights there are to that tree

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