Magazine article American Forests

And Then There Was One

Magazine article American Forests

And Then There Was One

Article excerpt

It was early Sunday, December 2. Hurricane-force winds were bearing down on the coast of Oregon, and several miles inland, just off state highway 26 in Clatsop County, 750 years of history came crashing down. Among the first to see the fallen roadside wonder known as the Klootchy Creek Giant, the national co-champion Sitka spruce, was Chantielle Johnston, a Northwest native. Her immediate reaction-tears.

"Every time you go to the coast you stop and see the tree," Johnston said. "It's where we always took the kids, my best friend. You stop at the tree; it's just what you do."

The 204-foot tall Sitka spruce sheared off roughly 75 feet above the ground. Some of the first people to arrive, before county officials cordoned it off, took pieces as ancient souvenirs.

The tree was already about 235 years old by the time Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. Loggers refused to cut it down, realizing it was something special. …

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