A compilation of Historic and anecdotal reports of Eastern White Pine over 200 feet high, or containing large diameters and extraordinary lumber volumes, circa 18th to 20th century.
Old Growth White Pine Forests, c. 19th century.
Update: 1/15/2020, I will be adding more accounts in following weeks and months. All heights below are “as is”, as this is a project of ongoing investigation, early reports of fallen trees measured on the ground by tape line, chains, rods, and rule sticks by first person observers such as Foresters, mill men, and credible scientists & surveyors of the day, or which have been vetted by 2 or more credible witnesses, I find to be of potential high credibility. My preliminary findings suggest that some stands of Eastern White Pine were averaging over 200 feet in height in the Eastern & N. Eastern U.S. and Ontario, Canada before the year 1900, reaching impressive diameters often over 5 to 7 feet, and contained individual specimen which may have rivaled the highest recorded Western White Pines and its cousin, the Sugar Pine. Heights of 220 to 270 ft potentially having been reached in the very tallest ones. In aggregating about 70 historic height reports, and 52 listed diameters from the reports below, the mean average of this Historical superlative series is approximately 218 ft tall over a 6.27 ft diameter at stump. Diameters ranged from 2 to 12 ft, and heights from 150 to 270 ft.
*”The Grandfather Pine”, of Sugar Valley, according to local historian and folklorist Col. Henry W Shoemaker, was a well known pine to the settlers of Clinton County, Pennsylvania. This legendary mammoth tree, famous to the Indians and pioneers alike, was said to stand nearly twice as tall as the surrounding forest. It was cut around 1875 by Mike Courtney who was woodsman of Ario Pardee’s lumber interests. The tree was reportedly felled by Mike Courtney, Henry Mark, Jake Karstetter, and Henry Wren who cut the tree 9 feet off the ground with a large crosscut saw and axes. Shoemaker credits a more authentic height of 260 feet (269 ft with butt height added), from the butt to the top, as measured by Henry Wren, one of the cutters. The giant tree reportedly measured 12 feet in diameter, 9 feet up from the ground. Altoona Tribune Altoona, Pennsylvania 13 Jul 1931, Mon • Page 6
Pinus Strobus, or Weymouth Pine. “In its native habitats this pine grows to very large dimensions. We have measured many of them as they lay felled on the ground and taking a number of them we found the stems average 150 feet long by 2 feet 9 inches diameter at 5 feet up from the bottom. This may be taken as an average of the size of the trees as they stand in their native parts ; but we have found many of them that measured 210 feet long with stems from 5 to 7 feet in diameter at 4 feet up from the bottom and on counting the annular layers on the stumps from which they were cut we found them to range between 350 and 425 which may be taken as representing the years of their age.”
In the Dayville area the passing of a large pine tree was all the news in late January. “A remarkably large pine tree was cut last week west of this village on land of S. & H. Sayles (owners of Dayville’s woolen mill). It was about 12 feet in circumference, and from it were cut by Mr. Alexander Blanchard, eighteen logs, none less than eight feet long, and all of which will saw into 2000 feet of boards.” (WCTr 2/3/1870).
Weekly Transcript, North Adams, Mass., Thursday, July 12, 1849
247′ Meredith, NY History of the Lumber Industry in the State of New York
250′ Timothy Dwights’ Travels in New England and New York
240′ Dartmouth, NH A Natural History of Trees
260′ Lincoln, NH Forest Giants of the World Past and Present
262′ Forest Giants…
264′ NH. Forest Giants.
GREAT EASTERN TREES, PAST AND PRESENT by Colby B. Rucker, from the Bulletin of The Eastern native Tree Society, Volume 3, Issue 4 7 Fall 2008
New Hampshire: Eastern White Pine. A pine cut long ago on the site of Dartmouth College was said to have been 240′ tall. Although many doubt the species is capable of attaining such a height, the legend has persisted. Reference: Lane, Ferdinand C., 1953. The Story of Trees, pp. 67-68.
New York: Eastern White Pine, It is said that a fallen specimen at Meridith, New York measured 247 feet in length. Reference: American Forests, Spring 2000, p. 38. Comments: No other details are available. No authenticated records indicate that such heights were actually attained.
Pennsylvania: Eastern White Pine. Girth 37 feet, height 200 feet. “Felled near Cedar Run.” Reference: Lane, Ferdinand C., 1953. The Story of Trees, p.67. Comments: Lane gives no other details. The girth seems excessive, even at grade.
Wisconsin: Eastern white pine. A white pine felled near the Flambeau River, in northwest Wisconsin yielded 14 logs that scaled 22,620 board feet. Reference: Stevens Point Journal, 2/26/1898. (courtesy of Paul Jost, 2/16/2004).
Eastern white pine. A white pine near the Plover River, in the Hatley area of Marathon County, was reported to have a circumference of 19′ 6″, and a height of nearly 200 feet. Reference: S. A. Sherman, pioneer lumberman, 1884. (courtesy of Paul Yost, 2/16/2004).
Eastern white pine. A white pine to be cut on the land of Mr. Wadleigh, near Hatley, Marathon County, was said to be the largest in Wisconsin. It was 27 feet in circumference. Reference: Stevens Point Journal, 12/1/1883. (courtesy of Paul Yost, 2/16/2004).
Turn on Google Earth’s 3D Buildings Icon. Create a polygon filter and adjust at desired altitude to filter height and find tallest tree. Google 3D renderings are photo realistic, and tend to be better than 95% accurate on flat land.
Accurately measuring trees on slopes and steep terrain is much more difficult. In this instance, subtracting crown height from base Google DEM terrain (non 3D mode) elevation will give a good proxy of height, yet DEM data itself can be inaccurate by as much as 50 – 100 feet. 3D Mode has finer and more exact elevation data. It is also worthy to consult other elevation databases to ensure accurate elevation at the base of the tree.
To Measure trees in Google Street view first select the desired location of the tree’s trunk, or directly under where the tree’s highest point is. Add a placemark at this location, then turn on the Google Street View mode. While in Street view mode, adjust the height of the placemark until it aligns with the top of the tree’s crown. This method is even more accurate than the 3D mode, as the 3D polygons some times do not render the top 5 or 10 feet or more in slender trees, steeples, etc:
My post at Google’s forum: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/gec-open-forum/rsf8Ul4NPGo
Some Douglas fir trees reported up to nearly 300 feet tall, and 6 to 8-1/2 feet diameter once grew on the south slope of Mt Scott, Portland in 1912. Oregonian archives: The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, May 26, 1912, Image 13
The Antone Sechtem ranch was located in Happy Valley, sheltered between Mt Scott and Talbert Mountain, segmented by Sunnyside road, and was within a couple hundred yards of Mt. Scott Creek. A great sheltered valley for big trees. Very Large Cedar trees also once grew in this valley.
300 feet is about as tall as Portland’s newly built South Waterfront Apartments , and about twice the size of the tallest fir trees growing around most of inner Portland nowadays. Powell Butte & Forest Park do have some Doug firs over 200 feet (the tallest is 252 feet high in Macleay Park), and there are amazingly still some huge fir trees up to nearly 300 feet tall (280-290 ft) and 6 to 8.3 feet diameter at Oxbow Park, Gresham- 15 miles east of Portland- the tallest trees in the Metro. Lewis and Clark recorded in their journals a 318 feet tall fir tree, only 3.5 to 4 feet in diameter (pencil thin!) at the upper reaches of “Quicksand river” in 1806, around the present day Sandy River Delta Park, in Gresham.
The 1852 survey map of the Portland basin shows evidence of a once great forest of Douglas fir, Hemlock, and Maple trees. A series of fires between 1825 and 1845 burnt much of this vast forest so that Portland had great open meadows with burnt and fallen timber along most of the central basin and east side, with swamps and marshland extending from Powell blvd. southward down through Crystal springs, and Johnson creek.
However, large groves of old growth trees remained east of 82nd ave, near Rocky Butte, down to Mt Scott and Happy Valley.
The Honorable Andrew J. Dufur, (whose son later formed the town of Dufur, east of Mt. Hood) is quoted in an 1876 agriculture report that he had cut down a Douglas fir 321 feet in length and 6 feet 4 inches diameter, 30 feet from the ground. It can be assumed that this tree was removed by Mr. Dufur on his residence of East Portland, near the Columbia river, north-east of Rocky Butte, where he cleared his land of the tall timber, built his own cabin, and started farming along the Columbia slough between 1859 and 1872, in the present Parkrose neighborhood.
Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for the Year 1876 – pg 181.
Other big trees approaching 300 feet were eluded to by Portland pioneer Harvey Whitefield Scott, who wrote about the town’s remaining big trees, and how it looked in the early settlement period of the 1850’s and 60’s – in his book, “History of Portland” 1890 pg 93, Settlement and Early Times:
“How it looked at Portland then was about how it looks now at any one of the score of river villages in the woods to be seen on the lower Columbia. The forest was a little notched. Grand trees lay almost three hundred feet long on the ground, and so big and burly that the settler felt grimly after his day’s labor in chopping one down, that he had only made matters worse by getting it in the way…”
Dr. James Robert Cardwell, President of the Oregon Horticultural Society, and Portland’s first dentist, arrived in Oregon in 1852, living six years in Corvallis. In 1858 he moved to Portland, eventually acquiring some properties in the Portland area, and clearing the land for his gardens. Of the Douglas fir trees, he wrote:
“The trees of our forests, owing to the favorable influences referred to, are of rich, dark green foliage, rapid growth to enormous proportions, commonly from 3 to 6 feet in diameter, 350 feet high, sometimes more, and 185 feet to the first limb. This I state from actual measurements from trees prone on the ground.”
– Our Conifers Economically Considered. By Dr J.R. Cardwell – 5th Biennial Report of the Oregon Board of Horticulture, 1899 pg. 544-549.
Dr. Cardwell continues, with a description of what the trees of Portland, Oregon looked like on his property:
Another great Douglas fir 330 feet tall was removed by W. F. Tracy, on his property north of Portland, in Camas, Washington along the Lacamas headwaters.A 300 foot tall Douglas fir was also felled on the Ezra fisher land claim, east of present day Oregon City.
Other Fir trees between 250 to 300 feet high were measured at present day Oregon City by early pioneers. Col. James Clyman, then residing at Willamette Falls, Oregon wrote a letter to Mr. Hiram Ross on Oct. 27, 1844 telling of the trees,
“One tree that I measured a few days since, is six feet four inches in diameter and 268 feet long. The tree was felled with an axe last summer.”
Then there is this amusing report of a boy free climbing a 260 foot Douglas fir out in Beaverton, Oregon in 1894!
Accounts of fir and Cedar trees 350 to 400 feet tall, and 18 to 20 feet in diameter were even reported in some early newspapers – trees along Kalama, Washington, and a grove of enormous fir and cedars estimated at over 350 feet high and 20 feet diameter near Latourell, Oregon and the Hood river, north of Mt. Hood.
A report by L. Ferdinand Floss (A resident of Multnomah County, Oregon) of gigantic trees over 20 feet in diameter, and 350 to 400 feet high near Latourell, Oregon was printed in the Morning Oregonian, of Portland on June 14, 1900 page 10. A follow up article was printed in the Oregonian, the next day saying the find will no doubt be checked by an agent of the National Forestry Department. On November 29, 1912 the Oregonian printed a report from George T. Prather who confirmed that the big trees were still to be found standing, and that he had seen them.
Portland too, may well have had some of these exceptional trees even higher than 300 – 350 feet, as occasional giants were encountered by pioneers settling the land around Seattle and Vancouver British Columbia over a century ago, sometimes 350 – 400 ft tall. (See my post on Tallest Douglas Fir, and claims of a 465-footer along the Nooksack river, Whatcom Wash. in 1896, and 415-footer north of Vancouver in 1902).
I have just recently tallied up all the heights, diameters, and estimated market board feet for 22 giant Douglas fir trees listed on page 11 of Dr. Al Carder’s excellent book, Forest Giants of the World, Past and Present. Of the 37 Doug-fir listed on pg 11, twenty two of them have a listed overall height, diameter at breast height, and volume of marketable board timber in cubic feet. These numbers I will illustrate below in bold text. With this data in hand, I decided to obtain my own rough estimate of the overall volume in cubic feet per tree listed, and compare this overall volume to Dr. Carder’s listed “Volume Marketable Timber” to find approximately what percentage of the tree’s overall cubic volume was marketable board feet . The formula I used was Volume of a cone, or V = 1/3 x Pi x Radius Squared X Height at cut, or 5 feet subtracted from each total tree height. Furthermore, I subtracted 6 inches of bark from each radius at breast height diameter for trees less than 9 feet in total breast height diameter, and 12 inches from trees 11 feet or greater in breast height diameter. Dr. Carder’s values are in bold text, my own values are to the right, and include my estimate of total cubic feet volume of each tree, and the percentage yield in market feet based on Carder’s numbers.
The statistical mean of the above data (the sum of the values divided by the number of values) from these 22 extremely gigantic record Douglas-fir shows that the average example of an historic giant, was 329 ft tall, 11 ft 3 inches diameter with 57% of its cubic volume considered merchantable timber. Using my formula to extrapolate estimated total volume, I find that this 329 ft tall, 11 ft 3 inch diameter tree contains 7256 total cubic feet of wood, and there are 12 board feet in 1 cubic foot of wood. Therefore, 7256 x 12, = 87,072 total board feet, and if we apply a mean yield of 57%, we arrive at 49,631 market board feet, which matches very well with historically reported board feet for trees felled within the 300 – 350 foot height range in the pacific NW. (See 350 ft tall Mossyrock tree in my “Tallest Douglas fir in America” page). Using the above 22 data points (and my additional estimates of total volume) as a reference, I propose the “Nooksack Giant”, the alleged 465 ft tall, 10.8 ft diameter (33 ft 11 in circ.) Douglas fir felled in 1896 near Maple Falls, Washington on the Alfred B. Loop ranch, very likely greatly exceeded 300 feet, and quite possibly 400 feet or more in height if the reported market board feet of “96,345” is a genuine yield of this enormous tree. I reason, if 96,345 board feet represents approx. 57 % of the entire tree’s volume, the total volume may have been as high as 169,027 board feet, which is equivalent to 14,085 cubic feet.
Taking 10.8 feet diameter at the cut, if we subtract about 1 foot of bark from each radius of the breast height diameter, and subtract 5 feet of stump where the tree was hypothetically cut, how tall would the Douglas fir need to be to contain 14,085 total cubic feet of wood, and still 57% yield? A shocking 700 feet! Formula of a cone:
Volume = 1/3 x Pi x Radius squared x height at cut. (Note: Radius is = 10.8 feet / 2, or 5.4 feet. Then subtract 1 foot for bark = 4.4 ft, and Radius squared is 4.4 x 4.4 = 19.36 ft.) V = 1/3 x 3.1415 x 19.36 ft x 695 ft (Ht at cut) = 14,089 cubic ft
Obviously the tree was not 700 feet tall. However, for the sake of argument, suppose the tree yielded 100% of its entire volume (although very unlikely), and the 96,345 board feet (8,028 cu ft) represented the whole trunk. What is the absolute possible minimum height the Nooksack giant could have been if we still subtract a foot of bark from each breast height radius, using the volume of a of a cone? 400 feet!
V = 1/3 x 3.1415 x 19.36 ft x 395 ft (Ht at cut) = 8,007 cubic ft
If the tree were indeed 465 feet tall, and 460 feet at the cut we arrive at: Volume = 1/3 x 3.1415 x 19.36ft x 460 ft = 9324 cubic feet, or 111,888 total board feet of the tree.
This, however, would suggest the Nooksack Giant’s yield was 86% of the total tree’s volume, which is considerably higher than the statistical mean market yield of 57% for giant class Douglas fir of the same diameter. However, if the 33 feet 11 inches circumference of this tree was in fact the naked butt measurement, excluding bark, the 57% yield makes a lot more sense, and we need not subtract 1 foot of bark from the equation.
Radius is 10.8 / 2, or 5.4 feet. Radius squared is 5.4 x 5.4 = 29.16 ft. Volume = 1/3 x 3.1415 x 29.16 ft x 460 ft = 14044 cubic feet, or 168,528 total board feet.
And if we apply 57% yield, the market board feet becomes 96,060 which is remarkably close to the original 96,345 board feet recorded for the Nooksack Giant. However, perhaps the market board feet of the Nooksack tree was a much higher yield than generally cut from giant Douglas fir. Suppose it was indeed 86% yield (87% is the highest market yield I estimated out of Dr Carder’s list of 22 giants). This would then bring the total board feet of the tree down to over 111,000 feet, which would require a tree of at least 310 feet tall. V = 1/3 x 3.1415 x 29.16 ft x 305 ft (at cut) = 9312 cubic feet, or 111,744 total board feet, and at 86% yield, 96,099 market board feet. (very near the 96,345 feet).
My Conclusions: Based on the highest yield probable of 86% (only representing 5% of the 22 marketable trees I extrapolated from Dr. Carder’s book) , and the most likely yield of 57%, I contend that the Nooksack Giant was almost definitely somewhere between 310 feet and 465 feet tall, assuming the purported board feet of the tree, “96,345 feet” is a genuine number, and also assuming the reported circumference of 33 ft 11 was measured exclusive of bark from the butt diameter. An average figure between these two estimates might be somewhere in the 350 -400 ft range if we assume the tree’s 33 ft 11 inch girth was measured excluding bark, and accept a market yield in the higher end, 66% to 75% range, which represented 14% of the 22 trees. However, if the yield of this tree was in the more typical median range of 50 -60%, or if the measured circumference of 33 ft 11 inches actually included one foot of bark per each butt radius and we still apply a high yield, even an absolute yield, the tree, by sheer conical inference would have reached and exceeded 400 ft. In conclusion, I am 80% confident the tree was nearly 400 feet high, to over 400 feet high. Of the 22 sampled trees, & additional market yield figures I extrapolated from Dr Carder’s book, 78% of these giant trees had market yields which ranged from 48% to 57%. The precise and detailed measurements of the tree listed on the placard nailed to a cross section of the tree while it was on display in New Whatcom read verbatim:
“From Loop’s Ranch, Forks, Whatcom Co WASHINGTON. The Tree was 465 ft. high, 220 ft. to first limb 33 ft. 11 in. in circumference at the base. If sawed into lumber would make 96,345 ft. would build 8 cottages, 2 stories high, 7 rooms each. The Tree is about 480 years old according to the rings. If sawed into inch square strips, would fill 10 ordinary cars. The strips would reach from WHATCOM to CHINA.”
The purported volume, and details of the tree is consistent with a tree in the range of about 400 feet or more in height. A tree of only 480 years reaching or exceeding 400 feet may be hard to fathom, but there are records of trees such as the 347 foot Douglas fir felled near Astoria, Ore in 1915 which was only 300 years or so in age, and the Pe Ell Tree, 340 feet high, also of about the same age, or the 315 feet tall Douglas fir measured very precisely and listed in “The Washington Forest Reserve by Horace Beemer Ayres, Geological Survey (U.S.) 1899. pg 295” with 253 annual rings at 7 feet from the ground. The Nooksack tree was situated within yards of the North Fork of the Nooksack river, at about 585 feet above Sea Level, and approx. 48°55’34.04″N and 122° 2’52.25″W, in the middle of the Nooksack River Valley, surrounded by sloping hills on both North and South ends, which rise to 1,000 to 4,000 feet above Sea Level. Mt Baker looms to a prominence, some thirteen miles distant, as the crow flies. In some respects, this may have afforded better growing conditions than even Lynn valley, B.C. Certainly there was abundant water, and the valley in which it grew may have shared an equal low wind speed range as Lynn Valley. 67 kilometers per hour (41 mph) is the highest recorded wind speed for Maple Falls, WA. and 0 – 28 Miles per hour is the historic range, compared to 1 to 25 Miles per hour as the historic range for North Vancouver (Lynn Valley). If such a tree 465 feet tall, really existed, certainly it would have stood out like a sore thumb. Yet, we have to remember the only recorded heights we have for the Lynn Valley giant trees are two: the 415 footer felled in 1902 at Argyle Rd, and Mt. Highway, and the 352 footer felled in 1907 in the same Valley. 415 feet would have stuck out of the forest canopy, even next to a 352 feet tall tree. The difference in height is about 18%. Timber cruiser and News paper reports along the Deming Trail in Whatcom Co. gives heights of up to 360 feet for some old Douglas fir, and if some stands had trees reaching into the 380 – 390 foot range, a 465 foot tall tree would stand 18% higher — About the Difference in height between the two Lynn Valley trees I mentioned above. Unlikely, yes. Impossible? I think not.
***Update 7/16/15: New Estimates of Market board foot yields tend to corroborate height claim of 400+ feet for this tree.
Using the standard log scales of the day, the Doyle, Scribner, and Spaulding rules, which were standard to the lumbermen in Oregon, Washington, and British Colymbia, I have now found evidence that the yield of 96,345 feet compromised the section of prime logs cut from below the first branches, or 220 feet of the tree, the “merchantable lumber, all of the finest quality”: The New York Times, TOPICS OF THE TIMES – Mar. 7, 1897
Prime lumber, or number 1. Grade Douglas fir wood was the standard grade for flooring, and building, and was cut from the clean, branch-less trunk of the tree, being free of knots, it was generally the purest and strongest wood the tree contained. Most Douglas fir and conifer trees harvested for their wood were cut to the branch level, everything below this was as a rule the finest and highest quality lumber in the tree. The Nooksack tree was reported to have been 220 feet to the first limb, so this helps give us a clue as to how the board feet calculation may have been arrived at. The Scribner Log scale was the standard for lumbermen in the Puget sound area around 1900: The Practical Lumberman: Short Methods of Figuring Lumber, Octagon Spars …
Using the Scribner rule, we find that the tree contained 96,345 feet of lumber in the first 215 feet of the tree’s trunk: The tree being cut 5 feet above ground level, + 215 feet of logs = 220 ft to first branch; this would yield 6 logs each of 32 feet long, and 1 log of 23 feet. This also comes out the same with 12 logs of 16 feet each, and one 20 – 24 foot log were furnished from the 215 feet below the branches. Similarly, 5 logs of 40 feet each plus 1 log of 20 foot gives similar results, approx. 96,000 – 97,000 feet Scribner, assuming the measurements of 33 ft 11 inches are exclusive of bark. This 215 feet of logs would be 5 ft 9 inches diameter at the top, and 10 feet 10 inches at the bottom — indicating a rise over run, which would necessitate a tree in the 350 – 450 ft tall range, assuming a full and intact crown. If we use the Doyle rule, 215 feet cut into similar log lengths would equal 115,952 board feet.
Conclusion: I now believe the Scribner log scale, (the standard scale of lumbermen in Puget sound and WA. State) was used to calculate the 96,345 market board feet of this tree, and the butt measurement of 33 ft 11 inches was excluding the bark. Log scalers always subtracted the bark from the tree to arrive at the yield estimate.
To calculate board feet of logs using Doyle and Scribner methods: Log Volume Calculator at WOODWEB
Historically Reported Douglas-Fir Exceeding 300 and 400 Feet
The following is an incomplete list I started in 2006 or 2007, and I add new reports or references at a leisurely basis. All primary credit is owed to the late big tree expert Dr. Al Carder of Victoria, British Columbia.
Dr. Carder’s excellent books, “Forest Giants of the World: Past and Present”, 1995, and “Giant Trees of Western America and the World” 2005 were an inspiration to me and a foundation to my amateur research project looking into old newspaper and book archives for record giant Douglas-fir. I recommend all visitors to this blog read his books, as they are the most authoritative on the subject of the tallest, largest, and “biggest” trees ever recorded! All heights listed below are “as is.” Stories of trees in excess of 400 feet require further verification in my view, but historic trees which were measured on the ground by credible persons after they were felled, or those measured as standing trees with laser range finder and clinometer, or climbed by professionals are of the highest credibility. Historical trees which have been studied, measured, and researched by Dr. Al Carder and are referenced in his books are also of a very high credibility.
*Update. April 19, 2014: In the last few months I have been in communication with the well known Seattle Arborist and author Arthur Lee Jacobson. He recently had the opportunity to visit Dr. Al Carder in late January. (Carder turns 104 years old tomorrow). Arthur was so kind to show Dr. Carder this blog post, and Carder was impressed, and even hand signed a copy of his delightful 2011 book “Reflections of a Big Tree Enthusiast” for me. This little book clarifies some of the best documented 300 -400 foot class Douglas fir he has researched, but also shares his personal experience with the timber industry and his fond memory of the big trees he grew up with. Thank you both Al Carder and Arthur Jacobson for your great work and kind support!
The Ancient Forest Alliance has a great recent article featuring Dr. Al Carder: http://www.ancientforestalliance.org/news-item.php?ID=744
300 ft “Most conspicuous among the productions of Oregon are the timber trees These are truly giants Near Astoria in the primeval forest there are fir trees over forty feet in circumference three hundred feet long and rising to the height of one hundred and fifty feet without giving off a single branch.” – Recent exploring expeditions to the Pacific and the South Seas… John Stilwell Jenkins – 1853 pg 430.
300 ft Oregon City, OR, in 1850 a fir tree 300 feet tall was felled on the Ezra Fisher Donation Land Claim on the eastern side of Oregon city. – Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society – pg. 207, 1916.
300 ft South slope of Mt. Scott, near Portland, OR on the Antone Sechtem ranch. 8.5 feet diameter, 100 feet to first limb, estimated height nearly 300 feet. – The Sunday Oregonian. Portland, Ore. May 26, 1912, pg 13.
~300 ft Oxbow Regional Park, Gresham, Oregon Nov. 2015. Large Douglas fir trees 5 to 8-1/2 feet diameter and from 250 to 300 feet in height, 500-600 years old with bark 8 to 10 inches deep. On wed. Nov 11, 2015 Darvel Lloyd and I measured some large ancient Douglas fir. I measured one that was at least 270 ft tall using inclinometer, and others in the vicinity I’d estimate at close to 300 feet. Another one 280 ft in height was 8.3 feet diameter. Later correspondence with the head Park Ranger indicates trees perhaps as high as 290-300 feet in this park! Also, 2014 LiDAR indicate some 280-290 ft trees. We will be sure to go back and verify the tallest ones, and I’ll update this post! These trees are likely the tallest & oldest remaining in the Portland Metro, within 15-20 miles of the city, and reflect on the sort of forest that once grew in this area 150 years ago. Lewis and Clark record a fallen fir tree 318 ft in length near the Sandy River in 1806, near this very park. They also report Condors with 9-1/2 foot wingspans which once glid about the Columbia river valley, so this ancient forest in Oxbow park brings back a timeless essence of what the ancient landscape of Portland was like 2 centuries ago. Portland used to have 300 foot tall Douglas fir!
300 ft Mr. A.L. Davidson, early explorer to Oregon cut down a 300 foot fir tree in Yamhill County, Oregon circa 1846. – Juliet signal., November 17, 1846 Pg 1.300 ft Douglas-fir that was felled in 1930 near Longview, Washington. This 600 year old tree was 300 feet tall and produced 30,000 board feet of lumber:http://community.woodmagazine.com/t5/Paul-Meisel/Tree-Cookies/ba-p/227383 300 ft A giant fir tree in Snohomish County, Wa was reportedly 66 feet in circumference at the butt, and estimated at 300 feet high in 1913. – The Democratic banner. (Mt. Vernon, Ohio) August 12, 1913, Page 2.
300+ft Saddle Mountain region, Clatsop Co. forest, Oregon 1922. 9 ft diameter, and over 300 feet in height. – American Lumberman, Part 2, 1922 pg 50.
300-330 ft+ Onion Peak, Oregon. Saddle Mountain, in Clatsop county Oregon, and the coast mountains were renown for especially big Douglas-fir. In online communication with loggers, one gentleman [Name withheld] told me his father had cut out a tree “that had 4 64’s and a 32” near Onion Peak, also in the coast mountains of Clatsop county. This gentleman is in his 80’s, so his father was probably logging the area in the early to mid 20th century. 288 log feet of market lumber, plus the assumed discarded top, and height of stump, likely represented a tree easily in the 300 to 330 foot tall range, by my calculations.
300 ft “Methuselah” a giant fir 300 feet tall on the McKenzie river, Oregon, 6 feet diameter. Blown down in November windstorm of 1977 and bucked up by Elwood McClure. – McKenzie River Reflections, Vol. 1, Issue 6 Nov 10-25, 1978
300+ ft “In the neighborhood of Bellingham Bay, the timber is very thick, and some distance inland Some very large trees have been discovered. Several are from twelve to fifteen feet in diameter, and one which had fallen down measured fifteen feet through, two hundred and thirty feet to the first limb, and over three hundred feet in extreme length. The age of this old monarch of the forest must be imagined — probably from six to eight hundred years.” – Daily Alta California, Volume 10, Number 174, 26 June 1858 pg 1.
300 ft “Douglas fir trees were cut on the site of the city of Vancouver 300 feet in height and 11 feet in diameter.” The Encyclopedia Americana By Scientific American, inc 1903.
300 ft? A giant Douglas fir tree cut down in 1928 near Lake Cavanaugh, Washington. Tree was 15 ft in diameter at the stump, and 150 feet high to a broken top, still 6ft in diameter. Ring count showed the tree to be 1,200 years old. Section of tree housed at the Stanwood Area Historical Society. (Such a tree, before it lost its top to the wind might have approached or exceeded 300 feet in height by my estimates).
300 ft? A giant Douglas fir tree cut near Arlington, Washington c. 1901. 15 feet 5 inches diameter at the stump, and 150 feet to the first limb, scaling 75,000 feet of lumber. The tree was sent to the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. – The Plymouth Republican. August 01, 1901, Pg 2. (The height is not eluded to in the newspaper, but similar 15 ft diameter giants regularly exceeded 300 ft, before they lost their ancient crowns to the wind when the forests were opened up by logging). Tree was later credited as having been felled on the Marion Gooding farm west of Arlington near the Stillaguamish River: The Arlington Times June 22, 1983 pg 27.
300 ft Puget Sound Big Fir, Caption: “Height 300 Ft, Diameter 10 Ft.” Florence, Washington 1910. Up the Stillaguamish river from Stanwood. Photograph hangs on wall at Stanwood QFC grocery store.
300 ft A cross section of 635 year old Douglas fir, approx. 9 feet diameter excluding bark. Placard next to it says tree was 300 feet tall. On Display at World Forestry Center, in Portland Oregon as of Sept. 2013. http://www.almostallthetruth.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Douglas-Fir-Cookies.jpg
300 ft When Sewell Moody (1834-1875) arrived on Burrard Inlet, trees were still so plentiful that they could be felled directly into the water and floated to the mills. The waterway of Burrard Inlet, too, was an almost perfect natural harbour for sailing ships. Sometimes up to six or seven vessels loaded at once at the Moodyville docks. According to historian Derek Pethick, the captain of the British ship Jeddo wrote the following description to his company’s agent in about 1866: “This is, without exception, one of the finest harbours I ever saw. It is locked in all round with high lands, covered with trees 300 feet [91 m] high, so that no wind or sea can hurt ships, and very easy of access for the largest ships afloat, and good anchorage. It is, likewise, a good place for loading. The ships can moor head and stern about half a cable’s length (92 m) from the mills in six fathoms (11 m) of water.”
300 ft Fir tree forests towering 300 feet high, and 6 to 12 feet in diameter at the stump covered the townsite of Burnaby, British Columbia in the 1860s. Quoting the Reverend John Sheepshanks, early pioneer, the trees often reached 250 to 300 feet, and the rate of travel through this dense forest was about half a mile per hour. – History of Burnaby and vicinity, by George Green, 1947 pages 24, 50, 85, 129, & 134.
300+ft Sitka Spruce recorded by Lewis and Clark, March 10, 1806 near Fort Clatsop. About 40 feet girth, at about 8 ft above ground, estimated 200 feet to first limbs. Height was safely estimated at 300 ft. This tree was also identified and measured by Frederick V Holman in 1872, who had estimated it at nearly 400 ft tall and measured it at 43 ft girth, 5 ft above ground, according to his address to the Oregon Historical Society in 1926.
Other big 300 ft Spruce trees grew in the coastal region, such as across the Columbia river at Grays river, Washington and in Nehalem, Oregon where resided the Gods Valley spruce, a purported 24 ft diameter monster which had been estimated at 300 feet before it lost it’s top.
300 ft In 1894 F. I. Mead measured a fallen 300 foot fir in Chehalis County, WA and it was 175 ft to first limb. – Omaha daily bee, July 02, 1894, Page 5.300?+ft Big Sicker Mountain, B.C. “Longtime Westholme resident Alan Gadsden remembers another giant, this one on a slope of Big Sicker Mountain and so tall that it could be used as a landmark by ships using the Inside Passage. Sometime about 1940 he accompanied pioneer Albert Holman up the mountain to see it first-hand. When he saw it again, years after, it was lying on the ground, abandoned by loggers who found that, even after bucking it into lengths, it was too large for their railway cars.” – Cowichan Chronicles, Volume 1 By Thomas William Paterson, 2001 pg 145.
302 ft. Finnegan’s Fir, Coos Bay, Oregon. Blown down 1975. Officially listed at 302 ft tall, 13.2 ft diameter. Tree was estimated to contain seventeen 16 foot logs, or 272 ft of marketable logs in 50,870 board feet. See 1975 article:Our public lands : Vol. 25, No. 3, Summer 1975 – Finnegan’s Fir
302 ft + “It is scarcely advisable to tell the truth concerning the size to which some of the giant firs and cedars grow in this country, lest I be accused of exaggeration; but, for proof of what I say, it will only be necessary to inquire of any resident of the Sound country. There are hundreds of fir and cedar trees in these woods twenty to twenty five feet in diameter, above the spur roots, and over three hundred feet high. A cube was cut from a fir tree, near Vancouver, and shipped to the Colonial Exhibition in London in 1886, that measured nine feet and eight inches in thickness each way. The bark of this tree was fourteen inches thick. Another tree was cut, trimmed to a length of three hundred and two feet, and sent to the same destination, but this one, I am told, was only six feet through at the butt. From one tree cut near Seattle six saw logs were taken, five of which were thirty feet long, each, and the other was twenty four feet in length. This tree was only five feet in diameter at the base, and the first limb grew at a height of two feet above where the last log was cut off, or over one hundred and seventy feet from the ground.” – Cruisings in the Cascades: A Narrative of Travel, Exploration, Amateur… By George O. Shields. Rand, McNally, 1889. pg 39.
300+ft “species grow to an immense size and one immediately behind the fort [Fort George, Astoria, Oregon] at the height of ten feet from the surface of the earth measured forty six feet in circumference! The trunk of this tree had about one hundred and fifty feet free from branches. Its top had been some time before blasted by lightning; and to judge by comparison its height when perfect must have exceeded three hundred feet! This was however an extraordinary tree in that country and was denominated by the Canadians Le Roi de Pins.* The general size however of the different species of fir far exceeds any thing on the east side of the Rocky Mountains and prime sound pine from two hundred to two hundred and eighty feet in height and from twenty to forty feet in circumference are by no means uncommon… A pine tree has been subsequently discovered in the Umpqua country to the southward of the Columbia the circumference of which is 57 feet its height 216 feet without branches !” – Adventures on the Columbia River: including the narrative of a residence of … Vol. 1, London, 1831 By Ross Cox pg. 113.
300+ft “The Cascade and Coast Mountains are vastly higher and more numerous than all the States east of the Mississippi can boast of and the peaks are always covered with snow and ice that makes a journey to their summit even in mid-summer, a hardship and dangerous. The forests of evergreen trees are the most stupendous in the world. Trees measuring far more than 300 feet in length and 6 to 15 feet in diameter and perfectly straight, and 200 feet from the ground to the first limb, are very common.” – Human Nature, Vol. VI, No. 1, 1896 pg 5.
300+ft “At the Pan-American Exposition there was on exhibition from Snohomish County a section of a fir tree which had been considerably over a hundred yards long and two hundred feet to the first limb. It was 920 years old and scaled 75,000 feet of lumber.” – Pearson’s magazine, 1905 pg. 113.
300 ft + Trees logged by Hewitt-Lea-Funck Co. from Puget Sound: “The old-growth yellow fir trees from which Hewitt-Lea-Funck Co. lumber and millwork are made grow to be 300 feet high or even taller, and as much as 12 feet in diameter…” – The Ranch. (Seattle, Wash.) April 01, 1914, Page 11.
300+ ft Elma, Washington, 1909.”The remarkable feat of erecting a fourteen room house from the lumber of a single yellow fir was recently accomplished at Elma. There was nearly 38,000 feet of lumber in the logs of the tree. Six logs twenty-eight feet in length, the largest seven feet in diameter at the smallest end were made from the fir. The measurement of the stump inside the bark was exactly nine feet The trunk was straight and for 100 feet not a limb appeared. The total length of the tree was more than 300 feet. The lumber was worth nearly $1,000. The corporation owning the land growing this tree has hundreds of such firs, many of them too big to be handled by the equipment now possessed by Washington saw mills. Not far from Snoqualmie Falls a giant tree was blown across a precipitous canyon a year ago. The trunk forms a footbridge ten feet wide.The log has been levelled and teams are often driven across it by venturesome drivers.” – The Conductor and Brakeman, Volume 26, 1909, pg 555 – 556.
300+ ft Near Elma, Washington, 1902. Pacific Monthly, Volumes 7-9, 1902 pg.137, (See below).
300+ft (My estimate of height extrapolating from logs) Elma, Wa. A felled Douglas fir, 5 feet 2 inches in diameter was cut into seven logs each 40 feet long. The tree was 221 years old according to ring count. – Monthly bulletin By Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen. 1918, pg. 21.
300 ft Satsop Valley, Washington 1936. 10 ft 10 in diameter, 300 feet tall. – Spokane Daily Chronicle – May 21, 1936 pg 2. Logged by Schafer Bros. Logging Company, Montesano, Washington and felled May 13, 1936 at Camp #1 by Pat Miller and Gus Quick, and bucked by Frank Halferty. Tree was 425 Years old, 300 feet high, 127 feet to first limb, Diameter 10 ft 10 in, and scaled 48,688 board feet.
Another Big fir, size not written down, was also felled around Grays Harbor, Washington. But looks a good 125 or 130 feet to first limb, if we compare the fallers on the ground to the height of the limbless trunk:
300 ft A Washington fir tree, near Montesano (Wynooche Timber Co.) yielded 264 feet of market logs, in 1922. This tree was probably around 300 feet tall, allowing for the top section and stump height: “Bert Critchfield and Bob White, fallers at Camp 1 of the Wynooche Timber Co., recently felled what is believed to have been one of the biggest firs ever found in Western Washington. From the tree Gust Stenberg, bucker, got five 40 foot logs one 36-foot log and one 28-foot log making the tree at least 264 feet high. It was eight feet in diameter at the butt.” – The Timberman, Volume 23, September 1922 pg 142.
300 ft + Kent, Washington, 1936. Fir tree 10 feet diameter, and 271 feet tall to an 18 inch diameter broken top. Woodsmen estimated the tree was originally more than 300 ft in Height. Section sent to Texas Centennial Exposition. – Kent News Journal 1936-05-15. See image below:
300 +ft What E.S. had seen on his first trip to Ostrander [Washington State] would, within a few short years, make him a “square timber” expert, and the long logs became his ticket to freedom. “Prevailing timber is fir, in size up to 8 feet diameter and over 300 feet high in some specimens. Some would make saw logs over 225 feet long.” –E.S. Collins. In fact, these unparalleled Douglas firs became Ostrander’s signature logs. They were destined for keels and masts, Mississippi barges, the Panama Canal, and the Welland Canal in Canada. http://www.collinsco.com/history/In-Depth.php
300 ft HIGH CLIMBER FALLS 300 FEET TO DEATH CATHLAMET, Wash., Sept. 14. (m Jesse James, 31, a high climber, was instantly killed todav In the crown Willamette logging operations east of here when he went up a 300-foot fir despite warning of the skidder crew when wmcn no was working. A tall tail tree on the skidder crashed with James clinging to It, after he had removed a retaining cable at the top. – September 14, 1933
Medford Mail Tribune from Medford, Oregon · Page 3
303 ft Near Ryderwood, Washington, 1936. “Near Ryderwood, reports the Guide field writer, the big-tree data shows there is a fir measuring 303 feet.” – Works Progress Administration, Seattle, Washington – Aug 18, 1936, PR 118
304 ft Jedediah Smith Redwoods State park. 13.5 diameter.
305 ft “The trees grow to an immense size. But king of all trees is the Douglas fir. A section of one may be seen at Ottawa on the Parliament grounds 8 feet 4 inches in diameter. It is a section taken 20 feet from the ground out of a tree 305 feet high.” – Hand-book for the Dominion of Canada: Prepared for the Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, at Montreal, 1884. pg 334.
305 ft The “Davie River tree” near Woss Lake, Northern Vancouver Island, B.C. was 305 feet tall, and over 7 feet in diameter. It was the tallest in a 7 acre grove of very tall fir trees averaging 278 feet high and 5 ft 2 inches diameter carefully measured after they were felled by loggers. Survey conducted in 1947 by Tom Wright and Henry Hansen in the Nimpkish valley. – Tom Wright: Recollections of a Pioneer Forester and Tree Farmer, By John Parminter, 2000 pg. 37, & Cowichan Chronicles, Volume 1 By Thomas William Paterson, 2001 pg 146.
305 ft NW CA. 2007 (More details needed) Link to Humboldt University, 300 ft Douglas fir in California’s Redwood forests: http://www.humboldt.edu/redwoods/photos
300 ft. Estimated original height of Clatsop fir, Clatsop, Oregon. Tree was blown down October-Nov., 1962 after the Columbus Day storm. This tree was discovered by Oregon forester Les Lloyd in 1938, and thanks to him, was saved from the logger’s axe. The tree was 210 ft to a broken top, 108 ft to first limb, 15.5 feet in breast height diameter, estimated to be 1200 years old, and had an estimated volume of 105,650 board feet! It’s original height has been estimated at 300 feet before the top broke out. The Spokesman Review, April 16, 1941: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19410416&id=5EwVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=JOQDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3589,174777 The Seaside Museum, Seaside Oregon, gives slightly different measurements after the tree fell in 1962: “Estimated 702 years of life”…”It was 15.8 feet in diameter at breast height and measured 200 feet, 6 inches to it’s four-foot broken top.” http://www.seasidemuseum.org/biggest_fir.cfm Special thanks to Darryl Lloyd for the following image:
305 ft Park Creek, Coos County, Oregon. Felled in 1973, the tree was 423 years old, 114 inches diameter, 39,659 board feet, and 305 feet total height. On display at the Menasha Corporation Land & Timber Division in Coos Bay. Coast of trees and sea lions – Claudia M. Kuenkel Photography
306 ft West of Roseburg, OR. Esquire-The Wrestless man. 2004
306 ft+ “The largest tree that I have had cut was one measuring 9 feet at the but including the bark and 306 feet from the but to the top.” – American agriculturist – Volume 22 – 1863, pg 272.
307 ft – A fir tree 307 feet tall, 12 feet diameter cut near Seattle in 1891. – Watertown Times, Monday, March 23, 1891 Pg 2.308 ft “The low divide between the Columbia and Elokomon Rivers was covered at this time by a dense forest of the spruce and Douglas fir and so thick was the growth that the fir trees would go up for 100 feet without a limb and not a ray of the sun could reach the ground The trees grew very tall and one a short way outside the forest on the edge of a little prairie being measured with instruments was found to be about 308 feet in height.” – Cathlamet on the Columbia: recollections of the Indian people and short … By Thomas Nelson Strong, 1906, pg 107
309 ft Cut at New Westminster, British Columbia, ten sections of a “fir” which was 309 feet tall, and 185 feet to the first branch, were displayed at the International Exhibition of 1862. – The North-west Territories and British Columbia … By Aeneas McDonell Dawson –1881, pg 66., Gardeners Chronicle & New Horticulturist, Jan. 7, 1882 pg 12, & Harper’s Weekly, Volume 9, Aug. 12, 1865 pg. 498.310 ft Siuslaw Timber Land, near Greenleaf, Oregon cruised in 1900 by Timber interests: “The trees are thickly set, and many are eight feet in diameter, 300 feet tall and 100 feet to the first limb. Some have been measured that were 10 feet through and 310 feet high.” – Morning Oregonian, Portland Ore. Feb. 26, 1900, page 3.
310 ft “We get our last coupon of rough road just beyond Claquato a few miles of which brings us to the second crossing of the Chehalis at its junction with the Skookum Chuck strong water another pretty spot where we dine. Not more than three miles from here is a fallen tree three feet in diameter at the butt and 290 in length. Another tree in an adjoining county measures eleven feet in diameter and 310 in length and we hear of two more being fourteen feet in thickness which is pretty well for firs and cedars” – All over Oregon and Washington: observations on the country, its scenery …By Frances Fuller Victor – 1872 – pg 233.
310 ft Little Rock, Wa. – Miscellaneous publication, Issue 295- By United States. Dept. of Agriculture, United States. Science and Education Administration – 1938- pg. 97.
310 ft “FIR TREE 700 YEARS OLD YIELDS 58,000 BOARD FEET. PORT ANGELES Wash-The Monarch of North Pacific fir was cut this week at Twin Camp. The giant’s age was -700 years and it scaled 58,000 board feet. Few firs have lived so long and still fewer have grown to the remarkable perfection of this tree. The stump Is slightly oval 12 feet the narrow way and 13 feet the widest distance. It stood 310 feet high without flaw. A-three foot section near the stump has been cut out for permanent exhibit in the museum of the State University at Seattle. – Daily Boston Globe – Nov 18, 1928 Page B 16.
310 ft A “Cedar” tree felled near Port Moody, British Columbia had a reputed length of 310 feet. – Annual Report, By Ontario. Department of Agriculture 1892, pg 54.
310 ft Felled on Feb 12, 1886, by Aleck, or Alex Russell a timber feller contracted by the CPR on Georgia St. Vancouver, BC – [Site of Present Vancouver Art Gallery.] This fir tree measured as much as 14 ft 4 inches in diameter at breast height at its widest, and 4 feet in diameter 200 feet from butt. Notes jotted down in his survey book by Lauchlan Hamilton who worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886, record that he measured the tree and found an average diameter of 11 ft 8 in. at the butt, 8 ft 2 in. diameter 30 feet from the base, and 3 ft 10 in. diameter 210 feet from the base. Also known as the Alex Russell Tree, it was said to have been 310 feet in total height to a broken top. Lauchlan Hamilton -The History of Metropolitan Vancouver (See Forest Giants, Carder 1995 pg 1 -10, & Vancouver Historical Journal, 3rd edition, 1960 pg 17, and ‘Sunshine Coast News’ Oct. 7, 1985 pg. 3)
310 ft Coquitlam River watershed at Meech Creek, BC. Now 309 feet (94.3 m) to a dead top, and 8.5 ft diameter. – Cowichan Chronicles, Volume 1 By Thomas William Paterson, 2001 pg 146, and Douglas Fir, The Canadian Encyclopedia: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/douglas-fir
308.4 Ft Near Sayward, B.C. The Tallest Douglas Fir Tree at WFP -April 30, 2019. LiDAR height measured. “What gets measured, gets managed. Standing at 94 meters and still growing, this Douglas fir tree is in a variable retention patch near Sayward, British Columbia on Vancouver Island.” Western Forest Products – Identifying and protecting big trees
315 ft Fir trees, up to 6 to 8 feet diameter, 350 to 600 years old and 260 to 315 or 317 feet high (80 to 96 meters), on Nimpkish Island, Nimpkish River Ecological Reserve, Vancouver Island, B.C. measured in June 1974. Tallest tree was later destroyed by a Nimpkish river flood. – NIMPKISH RIVER ECOLOGICAL RESERVE PURPOSE STATEMENT February 2003 , Wilderness Committee, 1985 , Nimpkish River Ecological Reserve Tall Trees Report 1983.
315 ft Skagit River, Washington, alluvial bottom. Diameter 70 inches inside bark, 7 feet from the ground. Bark 4 inches thick. 253 annual rings. The total height of this tree was 315 feet. Two 52-foot logs were utilized from this tree, scaling 14,000 feet B. M., and 5,745 feet B. M. of log timber marketable at eastern mills were left in the top, making a total of 19,745 feet B. M. of log timber in the tree. The Washington Forest Reserve by Horace Beemer Ayres, Geological Survey (U.S.) 1899. pg 295.
315 ft Cathlamet, Washington. One fir tree reportedly was reaching 315 feet tall. – Works Progress Administration, Seattle, Washington – Aug 18, 1936, PR 118
316 ft A fir tree felled measured 316 feet to the top most branch. The Year-book of facts in science and art By John Timbs, 1860- Pg. 35
318 ft A fallen fir tree recorded by Lewis and Clark, Saturday, April 5th, 1806 not far from Fort Vancouver [near Gresham]. Only 3.5 feet diameter. “The Hunters & Serjt Pryor informed us that they had Measured a tree on the upper Side of quick Sand River 312 feet long and about 4 feet through at the Stump.” The Journal William Clark April 5, 1806. And, “we measured a fallen tree of fir No.1 which was 318 feet including the stump which was about 6 feet high, this tree was only about 3 1/2 feet in diameter.” The Journal of Meriwether Lewis, April 5, 1806.
318 ft Largest fir tree cut for the mills at Burrard Inlet, British Columbia was 9 feet in diameter inside the bark, 318 feet tall. – Forest and Stream, Volume 17, Dec 29, 1881 Pg 424.
318 ft “Other Douglas firs in Washington notable for great height include one near Hoquiam 318 feet high” – Miscellaneous publication, Issue 295- By United States. Dept. of Agriculture, United States. Science and Education Administration – 1938- pg. 97.
320 ft A giant fir standing 320 feet in height and 11 feet diameter was measured by William Shuman near Enumclaw, Washington in 1891. The Seattle post-intelligencer – Sunday, August 2nd, 1891 – Page 16:
320 ft Estimated original height of Red Creek Fir, Vancouver Island, BC. 239 ft to a broken top, diameter of broken top 2.95 ft . Diameter at breast ht 13.9 ft. Total current height 242 feet. The 320 foot original height before top blown off, was estimated by the late Randy Stoltmann, and Dr. Al Carder in the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, 1986 article “ Last of the Giants.”
320 – 326 ft Koksilah Giant, British Columbia–blown down 1979 after clearcut. Standing portion, and blown top both measured by Dr. Al Carder in 1978, and confirmed to stand 320 feet tall and 12.7 feet in diameter. (Forest Giants, Carder pg 1-10). See also, “Forest History Society, Image ID: FHS4352 Date: 10/14/1977 Title: Koksilah Fir Caption: Koksilah Fir, Upper Koksilah River, Vancouver Island, B.C. Top blown off circa 1960, tree blown down February 1979. Height before losing top-326 feet, height after losing top-236 feet, diameter b.h.-12.7 feet, height to first branch- 110 feet, board feet-61,588, age (est.)- 750 years. ”
320 ft about 3 miles from Granville [Vancouver, B.C.], on Hastings road were fir trees 320 feet tall and 8 ft diameter felled by the hundreds in 1881:
‘A NEW LUMBER DISTRICT- A correspondent of the Toronto, Ont., Globe, who is writing for that paper from British’ Columbia, includes in a recent letter some interesting information in regard to the lumber…”As the trees in the woods through which we passed, on the Hastings road, were such monsters, I was curious to know how they could be cut down and hauled about. Miles upon miles of timber exists on the inlet of the Douglas fir species, as well as cedar. Un-less one saw these trees he would scarcely credit the fact that such did exist anywhere. In numerous instances they rise a perfectly limb-less trunk for 200 feet, and then over another 100 feet above that, with small limbs. About three miles from Granville I saw trees felled that were 320 feet in length, and eight feet in diameter. There were hundreds like these all round,…” ‘ – The Canada Lumberman Vol.1 No. 21, September 1, 1881 pg. 2
320 ft “Our principal timber is the Douglas pine. Many of the trees are 320 feet high, 6 feet diameter at the butt, and perhaps 210 feet from the ground before branches begin. The logs used for spars are 100 to 120 feet clear, and cannot be beaten in the world. These spars have been tested in the French shipyards by the most severe experiments, and found superior to the best Riga spars in flexibility, resistance, and density. A sample, in the shape of a flag pole 90 feet long, can be seen at Kew Gardens; also pieces cut out of a tree 5 1/2 feet diameter, and 210 feet before branches began—the tree, I think, was 320 feet high.” – British Columbia Gold Mines : A Paper Read Before the Liverpool Geological Association by Henry Holbrook, 1884 pg 26.
320 ft A tree cut in B.C. in 1900, yielded eight 32 foot logs, and a 24 foot log, or 280 feet of market log feet. Adding stump height, and top section, this tree was probably around 320 feet tall by my estimates.
“Charlie Todd returned last night from British Columbia, where he has been to look after his property. He has twenty acres of land there covered with the finest kind of timber. He says that on a place near his the owner cut down a tree which made eight 32 foot logs and one 24 feet long.” – Arkansas City Daily Traveler from Arkansas City, Kansas · Page 5. March 8, 1900.
320 ft James Irvine Fir — Prairie Creek State Park/ James Irvine Trail, Cal.
320 ft Quoting the Honorable Selucius Garfielde, Congressional Delegate from Washington Territory, speaking of the timber, “Trees often measure 320 feet in length, as I have several times demonstrated…” – The Northern Pacific Railroad – Its Route, Resources, Progress and Business …1871, pg. 41. (See Image below):
320 ft “I have measured one felled on the neighbouring mainland [Near San Juan Island] which measured 320 feet in height with a diameter of more than 5 feet.” Gardeners chronicle & new horticulturist, Volume 32 – Nov. 2, 1872 – pg 1,452.
320 ft ‘PUGET SOUND TIMBER. A correspondent of the Chicago Times writes
as follows concerning the fir tree growths of Puget Sound, W. T. : — He says the trees average 200 feet in height, and asserts that some specimens have been cut down in his presence that were 320 feet in length by 12 feet in diameter at the base, having a straight and well proportioned log length of 90 feet to the first limb, and being 2 feet in diameter within 20 feet of the top. The cedar trees are in like proportion,…’ – The Canada Lumberman, Vol. 1 No. 10, March 15, 1881 pg 9
320 ft “The size of the fir trees and the number growing upon given acres in good timber districts is almost incredible to residents upon the Atlantic slope of the continent. Trees often measure 320 feet in length, more than two-thirds of which are free from limbs.” -Annual Report to the Commissioner of Agriculture for the year 1878 pg. 539 – by United States Dept. of Agriculture – 1879
321 ft A [fir] tree cut by Mr A.J. Dufur was 6 feet 4 inches in diameter 30 feet from the base and 321 feet long. – Report of the Secretary of Agriculture By United States. Dept. of Agriculture – 1875 – pg. 181. Note: This tree was likely cut at present day NE Portland, where the Honorable A. J. Dufur resided from 1859 – 1872, clearing his land of timber, and farming: Portland used to have 300 foot tall Douglas fir!
321 ft Humboldt Fir — Prairie Creek State Park, Cal.
321 ft Cathcart, Wa. — Photo from, The Washington Forest Reserve by Horace Beemer Ayres, Geological Survey (U.S.) 1899. pg. 300. See below:
321 ft “Thus, of yellow-fir (Abies grandis) two sections were shown taken from the same tree, the first six feet ten and a half inches in diameter exclusive of bark, taken “one hundred and thirty feet from the ground;” the other five feet ten inches, taken “two hundred feet from the ground,” with the statement that the tree was three hundred twenty-one feet high, fifteen and three-quarters feet in diameter at the butt,…” International Exhibition, 1876 By United States Centennial Commission pg. 6, 1880.
322 ft + Oregon fir, 322 feet tall cut in 1916 for Panama-Pacific Exposition. 6 feet diameter at the butt, 22 inches diameter at the top. – Granite – Published … in the Interests of the Producer …, Volume 26, 1916, pg 52
322 ft ** Near Eugene Oregon, NE of Lowell. A 500 yr old grove of Douglas Fir averaging about 300 feet in height. The tallest measured at 322.—Moon Oregon, pg 202, by Elizabeth Morris, Mark Morris. 2007 –Agenda: see Dr. Robert Zybach‘s report. Tree was re-estimated at 290 feet tall by him. However, previously a US Forest Service Ranger district planner, John Cissel, had measured the tallest at up to 322 feet with clinometer in 1989. Note: Arborist M.D. Vaden recently investigated this site, and found that the area had trees in the 250 -280 ft range, and anything if it were over 300 ft was probably on the ground. Lots of fallen logs, and what was left of the Tall trees grove was in utter disrepair: http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=114&t=2906
The US Forest Service currently does recognize some Douglas fir over 300 feet on the Trail. “Willamette National Forest – Tall Trees Trail #4269 – Hiking this short 0.2 mile trail gives you the chance to see some of the Northwest’s tallest trees. The grove contains mature Douglas-firs measuring over 300 feet. There is also an abundance of tall snags in the stand. The center of the grove consists of approximately 50 acres of the tallest trees ranging from 270 to 310 feet tall.”
321.5 ft tall Douglas fir, 10 miles west of Mt. St. Helens, 1/4 mile north of the South Fork of the Toutle river. 9 feet in Diameter. Tree is dying. Found in May, 2017 by Michael Taylor using a LiDAR database, and visited and professionally measured by Dr. Steve Sillett and Ken Fisher in May or June, 2017. Washington’s Tallest Tree Confirmed
322.8 ft west of Roseburg, OR. 8.6 ft diam. June, 2011. Tallest known live top Douglas fir.
“Between the four of us, and a couple of other men who Michael explored the area with in 2011, here are some new tallest Douglas Fir discoveries”:
See link by professional Arborist and tree hunter M.D. Vaden: http://www.mdvaden.com/douglas_fir.shtml A More complete list of tallest living Douglas fir by big tree hunter Michael Taylor:
327.3 99.76 13.2 3.35 Brummett Fir...AKA Williams Fir. Once over 100m. Original high ground level burried by a retaining wall. Coos County, Oregon 322.8 98.34 8.6 2.62 Noname, SW Oregon. Careful tripod mounted Impulse 200LR measurement by Chris Atkins and Mike Hanuschik. 321.9 98.12 7.0 2.13 Black Thorn, SW Oregon. Vigorous Live Top. 319.5 97.39 8.5 2.59 Hunewell Honey. Discovered By Taylor. Atkins October 2011 measurement. Live Top. 319.1 97.25 8.1 2.57 Memnon 332, SW Oregon. Live Top. 317.6 96.79 7.0 2.13 Edge Fir, Coos County, SW Oregon. Site Altitude 900'. Tripod mounted Impulse 200LR measurement. 317.5 96.77 6.5 1.98 Noname. SW Oregon. Site Alititude 2300'. Preliminary. 317.2 96.68 10.1 3.07 Noname. SW Oregon. Two tops, the other 95.5m. 314.0 95.70 9.9 3.01 Noname. SW Oregon. Dbh measured on high side of ground level. 310.7 94.70 7.5 2.23 Noname. Redwood National Park. Measured with Impuluse 200LR by Chris Atkins & Steve Sillett 310.0 94.48 8.0 2.54 Noname. SW Oregon. Dbh measured on high side of ground level. 309.3 94.27 8.5 2.59 Coyote Gulch Tree, Park Creek Watershed, Coos County, Oregon. Preliminary handheld. 308.0 94.27 5.5 1.67 Noname. Prairie Creek State Park. Discovered by Atkins-Vaden. 308.0 93.80 8.0 2.54 Noname, SW Oregon. Dbh only an eye estimate. 307.0 93.60 5.5 1.67 Noname. Prairie Creek. Browns Creek junction with Prairie Creek. Discovered by Chris Atkins in 2010. 306.0 93.57 7.0 2.13 Broken Lip Fir. Trailhead 1 Mile South of Wagner Trailhead. Near junction with Prairie Creek Trail. Discovered by Hildebrant 306.0 93.57 3.5 1.07 Flagpole, Prairie Creek SP. 305.0 92.96 N/A N/A Noname. Brown's Creek Trailhead. Preliminary. 305.0 92.96 N/A N/A Noname. SW Oregon. Preliminary. 303.0 92.35 8.4 2.56 Noname, SW Oregon. Preliminary. 303.0 92.35 N/A N/A Noname, Prairie Creek Tributary. Termite infested, rotten trunk. Grows near Ravens Tower, tallest sitka spruce. 302.0 92.04 13.0 3.96 Rex Nemorensis. Quinalt Lake, Olympic National Park. Volume is 10,200 cubic feet, 4th largest known. 301.0 91.74 13.2 4.02 Ol' Jed, only recorded douglas fir over 10,000 ft³ in California. Now just a dead snag.
See Michael Taylor’s full page on record Douglas fir height:http://www.landmarktrees.net/douglas.html
See Also, “Ascending the Giants” Oregon Field Guide episode, on Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oct. 12, 2017. Brian French and Will Koomjian have investigated LiDAR data, climbed and measured a number of 300-322 foot Douglas fir in Coos County, Oregon. Finding Oregon’s Tallest Trees Gets Help From Technology
324 ft Chehalis, Lewis Co. Wa. Oak Tribune 1934
324 ft 4 inches, Ryderwood, Washington. “The tree, a Douglas fir (yellow fir) is 324 feet, 4 inches in height. It measures 37 feet and 1 inch in circumference, or approximately 12 feet through. The Long- Bell company plans to preserve the tree. Another tree, nearby, stands 311 feet high.” – American Lumberman, Part 1, 1937. pg 47.
324 ft – A postcard, “Oregon pine 324 feet High” – 1906. D.M. Averill Publ. Undivided Back, to Osakis, Minn… 1906 – Oregon Pine, 324 Feet High, D.M. Averill Publ.
325 ft Stanley Park, BC 1916, 10 ft diameter. Felled for safety reasons. (See Forest Giants, Carder pgs 1 – 10).
325 ft Douglas Fir in Stanley Park, BC, Toppled in 1926, 800 years old, 10 ft diameter. “…Recently, in sea-girt Stanley Park at Vancouver, the writer [Dan McCowan] took opportunity to examine a Douglas Fir which had lived to a great age. For well over eight centuries this giant of the British Columbian woods swung gently to and fro in the salty winds which furrow the western ocean. Six hundred thousand tides had surged fiercely through the narrow gut of Burrard Inlet whilst this great tree was in growth. Felled by a recent gale, it now lay prone upon the earth and presently would be removed for conversion into lumber. The length of this fallen monarch was three hundred and twenty five feet, the girth close to the base, thirty one feet, and the diameter almost ten feet. Foresters who were busily engaged sawing the great trunk into cross sections, estimated its lumber content at twenty-five thousand feet, board measure. The Douglas Fir, although in all probability the longest lived tree in Canada, is yet a juvenile amongst the world’s oldest trees. The great Sequoias in California, the Locust trees of Brazil and some European yews are veritable Methu-salehs…” – ‘Giants and Dwarfs of Canada’s Forests’, By Dan McCowan – The Illustrated Canadian Forest and Outdoors, Volume 22, 1926 pg 639. (See Also: Hiking guide to the big trees of southwestern British Columbia, by Randy Stoltmann, Western Canada Wilderness Committee – 1987 pg 47, Stanley Park Nature and History Walk, Guide. 1990 pg 3, and Forest Giants, Carder pgs 1- 10.)
325 ft “Fir trees two hundred and two hundred and fifty feet high, and six and seven feet in diameter, are seldom out of view in these forests; eight and ten feet in diameter and three hundred feet high are not at all uncommon. Trees of fourteen and fifteen feet in diameter are not difficult to find, and a fallen tree near Olympia measures three hundred and twenty-five feet in length, and another, at a distance of ninety feet from the root, measures seven feet in diameter.” – Annual Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office to the Secretary of the Interior – Page 73 by United States General Land Office – Public lands – 1867
325+ ft 1.5 miles east of Edmonds, WA. in 1890 stood a fir tree in Snohomish County, 44 feet circumference, and over 325 feet high. – Pullman herald. (Pullman, W.T. [Wash.]) June 07, 1890, pg 7. See Image below:325 ft Skagit Co. Washington. Illabot Creek, 5 miles east of Rockport. 10 ft diameter. Measured as a fallen tree on the property of Henry Martin in 1897 at 325 feet in length. http://www.skagitriverjournal.com/Upriver/Sauk-Ill/Martin/Martin2-FamilyDocs.html
325 ft Near Darrington, Washington at the Sauk River. A Douglas fir 325 feet tall. – Miscellaneous publication, Issue 295- By United States. Dept. of Agriculture, United States. Science and Education Administration – 1938- pg. 97, & Works Progress Administration, Seattle, Washington – Aug 18, 1936, PR 118
325 ft A news report of stands of trees estimated by a government surveyor to average at 325 feet high and 7 feet in diameter from 4 townships in the North Eastern shore of the Puget sound, Washington, and other accounts of dense fir forests 300 feet high, and 10 feet diameter in the mountains. – Omaha Daily Bee. October 12, 1883, Page 2.326 ft Queets Valley, Washington 1988. 6.7 feet diameter. – Olympic: A Visitor’s Companion, By George Wuerthner, Douglas W. Moore, 1999 pg. 102. See also Forest Giants, Carder pg 1-10.
327 ft In Autumn of 1862, the Honorable Malcolm Cameron and Colonel Richard Moody of the Royal Engineers, measured a fallen fir tree that was 327 feet long, 11 feet diameter, and 200 feet to the first limbs in the Fraser river valley, near New Westminster, B.C. Cameron recalls that it was not an uncommonly sized tree in that region. – The Quebec Mercury, Feb. 16, 1863 pg. 1
Col. Moody also measured one or two fallen fir trees in another instance which were 320 feet long to where the tops broke apart in the fall, and as thick as a man’s waist where he left off measuring. – Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society Volume VIII, 1863-1864. pg 92.
328 ft Sedro Woolley, WA 1906. 17 ft diameter, 328 feet high. – “Sedro-Woolley, Key to Upper Skagit,” Bellingham Herald column, Sept. 30, 1906. In 1950, civil engineer Albert G. Mosier elaborated in a news interview about the giant trees that once stood in Sedro Woolley, “…Mosher and McDonald were logging an area about at the east city limits… It was a beautiful stand of timber, principally fir, which was the only wood considered fit to make lumber…Firs over 300 feet tall and 16-18 feet in diameter at the butt above the swell.” Some of the Cedars in the area even reached heights of 250 to 285 feet: “A cedar cut on Mortimer Cook’s place at Bug measured 285 feet in length, 6 feet in diameter; 25,000 shingles were made from half of it. — Skagit News, April 28, 1885. A big cedar on W.A. Dunlap’s place above Sterling is by actual measurement 48 feet in circumference five feet above ground. Its height is estimated at 250 feet. Some idea of the size of this can be got by taking a good-sized settler’s cabin, which would be 12×16 feet. — Skagit News, Oct. 14, 1884” – Mortimer Cook, Bug and Sedro: From Bug to Sedro, the early days; population about 10
329 ft Brummet Creek Tree, 4.4 ft diameter and blown down circa 1950. See: Forest Giants, Carder, pages 1 -10 & Trees To Know In Oregon, Extension Bulletin 697 Oregon State University & Oregon State Forestry Department, Revised January 1966 pg 89 (see below).
320-330+ ft An allusion is given to some very tall timber in Elliott State Forest, Coos & Douglas counties, Oregon in 1960, which could yield nine 32 foot logs. Such a height could suggest a tree over 300, and probably more like 320 to over 330 feet tall, because the rule was the top cut was usually 12 to 18 inches minimum, and Douglas fir regularly had a trunk to height ratio of 25 to 50 in mature and old growth stands:
“Stand on a mountain top and look over acres and acres of living, growing wealth spread out as far as you can see. Look up at a thick Douglas Fir giant that has been just guessed to yield an unbelievable nine 32-foot logs; or look through heavy stands of 70-year-old new growth timber that holds eternal promise for the economy of the county and the state. You’re in the Elliott State Forest.” – The News-Review from Roseburg, Oregon Pg. 7, October 18, 1960.
330 ft A Douglas fir tree 330 feet tall was measured by a Weyerhaeuser Company Forester in Coos County, Oregon in 1946 and official correspondence of the US Bureau of Land Management mentioned Douglas firs cruised on Brummet Creek in Coos County, Oregon in 1956 which measured 9 logs, each 32 feet long. The total height of these trees probably exceeded 330 feet. – Trees To Know In Oregon, Extension Bulletin 697 Oregon State University & Oregon State Forestry Department, Revised January 1966 pg 89. [Note: The Weyerhaeuser Company Forester was probably Mr. Arthur V. Smyth, who conducted the Millicoma Tree Farm survey in 1946, and reported a 332 foot tree in the Pillsbury Tract, Coos County, Ore. See report by Dr. Bob Zybach: Oregon Coast Range Old_Growth: The 1945-1947 Weyerhaeuser Coos Bay Study. pg 6, Also see Dr Zybach’s excellent 2018 article on the giants of the Oregon coast: Oregon Coast Range Old-Growth: Part II. Size Matters.
260- 330 ft North Vancouver, B.C., at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Nov. 2019. The Tallest Christmas trees climbed by Marc-Luc Lalumiere, a high climber and designer at the park who strings the Christmas tree lights on the massive trees. “Lalumiere says the average height of the trees is somewhere between 260 and 300 feet, and the tallest checks in at around 330 feet.” – Meet the man who decorates the 300-foot Christmas trees at Capilano Suspension Bridge
330 ft – Whidbey and Camano Is. Washington -“The biggest trees in the county grew on southern Whidbey and on Camano Island, but virtually all the mature trees were immense…The fir was the largest of all, with a diameter of 5 to 7 feet and stood 245 to 33o feet (White 198o). By the end of the nineteenth century, most of the old growth Douglas fir had been cut…” – Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, General Management Plan: Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 1, 2006 pg 74.
“The great merit of the firs is their size and durability, with their habit of growing close together like canes in a brake, and to an immense height without knots or branches. It is not uncommon to find a tree having a diameter of four feet at a distance of ten feet from the ground, which has attained an altitude of 300 feet; nor is it unusual to find spar timbers 150 feet long with a diameter of eighteen inches, perfectly straight and sound. The mills on Puget Sound find no difficulty in furnishing squared timbers of these dimensions, and often cut plank from 60 to 90 feet in length.” – History Of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, 1845-1889. By Hubert Howe Bancroft, 1890 pg. 328
330 ft Lacamas headwaters, Washington 1880. 330 ft in length, 8 ft diameter. Felled by W. F. Tracy on his farm. – The Vancouver independent, May 06, 1880, pg 5. See article below:330 ft According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Technical Bulletin published in October, 1930, there is a standing Douglas Fir near Little Rock, Washington, which is 330 feet in height, with a diameter of approximately 6 feet.
331 ft A “Yellow fir” in the Nehalem Valley, Oregon reportedly stood 331 ft tall, and an apocryphal story is told of a fir 400 feet high. – The Morning Oregonian -Portland, OR. October 6, 1903 page 14:
300+ft “My Dad said he topped a tree at 240 feet up near Grisdale and he said that was much higher then normal. Measured with a new passrope that was known length not speculation.”… We yarded this one in 84. I remember it was 12 foot and it had 7 logs in it. The first three cuts were 40s. Some of the top cuts were shorter though. I’d guess to the tip top it was pushing 300 but not over.The one my Dad topped that I mentioned he said was about 30 inches where he topped it. He said they had to put extensions on all the guylines it was so high. Rarely he said they would go over 200 feet [topped].07-24-2012, 11:29 PM http://www.arboristsite.com/forestry-logging-forum/204269-3.htm Biggest & Tallest Doug fir and Sitka Spruce & redwoods
300+ft (My Estimate for some spars over 200 ft) Based on the following: “In the early days of logging spars with the required 20 in. to 30 in. top at a height between 200 and 250 feet ceptional [sic] and those of 120 feet satisfactory.” – The Commonwealth forestry review: Volume 37 – 1958, pg 180.
More about high-climber Axel Hallgren here: http://hem.bredband.net/guha002/index.htm
330+ ft (My estimate of original height). A Spar tree 250 feet high – The Sibley journal of engineering: Volume 35 – Page 71 – Cornell University. Sibley College – 1921.
300+ft “There are other authentic measurements of Douglas firs with a total height of over 300 feet. One fir was topped for a spar tree at 256 feet above the ground”.. – American forests: Volume 68, American Forestry Association –1962 pg 66. 300+ft In any event, when the top falls the “stump”, sways and weaves with great violence and the climber must hold with tooth and spur, and this experience anywhere from 150 (46 metres) to 280 feet (85 metres) above ground is racking in the extreme. The tree that Hallgren scaled that day must have been about 300 feet (91 metres) high, for it is 240 feet (73 metres) from the ground to the point where he is shown cutting off the top. It was six feet (1,8 metres) in diameter 10 feet (3 metres) from the ground. This tree was unusually high one, for the top is usually out off these high lead trees at from 160 to 200 feet (49 to 61 metres) from the ground. http://hem.bredband.net/guha002/index.htm
332 ft “Four of the five tallest trees in the world grow along the West Coast of the United States. They are: red-wood 367 feet, Redwood Creek, California; Douglas fir 332 feet, Coos County, Oregon; Noble fir 325 feet, Harmony Falls, Oregon; and the Sitka Spruce 298 feet, Olympic National Park, Washington.” – The Southern lumberman: Volume 217 – 1968, pg 160.
330+ft (My estimate of original height of spar trees, before top 50-75 feet or more was cut off by high climbers). Spar fir trees cut at 250 & 275 feet high.– Chronicle Telegram, Feb. 14, 1921 pg. 2, & Schenectady Gazette Feb 2, 1921 Page 5. (See image of news clipping below).
335+ ft (My conservative estimate of original tree height). A Spar fir cut at 285 ft tall. – The Ironwood Times, Mar. 9, 1923 pg. 1.
335 ft- “It may not be generally known that many specimens of fir found on the shores of Puget Sound equal in height the infamous giant Sequoia or “Big tree” of California, for firs have been cut down which were over 325 feet in length from topmost branch to the edge of the cut, not including eight or ten feet of the trunk left standing above the roots.” “Engineering In The Logging Industry In The American Pacific Northwest” – Cassier’s Magazine Vol. XXIX April, 1906 No. 6
335 ft “The largest tree measured by the writer was thirteen feet in diameter and had an estimated height of nearly 300 feet. One observer states that he measured a tree in Washington 335 feet high and fifteen feet in diameter.” – The Forester, Volumes 5-6By American Forestry Association 1899 pg. 54.
338 ft Major Ambrose Newton Armstrong, a government surveyor contracted by the General Land Office in Oregon in 1854-55, reported measuring fallen fir trees in the Coast Mountain range up to 338 feet in length on the ground, and only 3 feet in diameter in his book on Oregon history published in 1857. – Oregon, Comprising a Brief History and Full Description… By A.N. Armstrong, 1857 pg. 33:
338 ft A Section from a 400 year old fir tree, 10 feet in diameter 3 ft from the ground, and 338 feet in length was exhibited at the Tacoma Exposition in Tacoma, Washington in October of 1891, according to Mr. J.M. Turney of Portland, Oregon, writing to “The Newton bee” on October 12, 1891. – “Where Rolls the Oregon”- The Newtown bee. (Newton, Connecticut). October 23, 1891, pg. 4:
339 ft Toledo, Ore – spar tree 214 ft tall 34 inches at cut, severed section was 125 feet. (Forest Giants of the World Past and Present, Carder pg 1 -10). Parks & recreation, Volume 10. American Institute of Park Executives, 1927 pg 263, and American Lumberman, Part 3, 1926 pg 84.
327 – 339 ft “Williams Fir” also known as Doerner Fir [Brummitt Fir], Coos Co. OR. 13.2 ft diameter trunk. Estimated age 500-600 yrs old. Tallest Known Living Douglas fir as of 2013. Current height is 327 feet to a dead top at average ground level. Measured 329 feet tall in 1988. Further 10 feet of trunk slopes down hill, making entire height of tree at lowest end 339 feet in 1988. Read more here: http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2010/03/doerner_fir_rises_327_feet_int.html
See more: http://www.mdvaden.com/doerner_fir.shtml
340 ft – Puget Sound, 42 ft around. Over 79,218 board feet, 340 feet high. Spring of 1904 Mccormick Lumber Co. Lewis Co, WA Sent to St. Louis Exposition.–The Indian Forester – Page 320. Felled near Pe El, Wa. Also, see Forest Giants, Carder pg 1-10, and Washington standard – Friday, May 27th, 1904 – Page 2.Vader Octogenarian Wants Public to See Giant Fir in Pe Ell
340 and 350 ft – Ten immense logs were taken from Port Blakely, Bainbridge Island, Washington and shipped by rail to Chicago from Tacoma for the Columbian Exposition. – The Corvallis gazette. (Corvallis, Or.) August 26, 1892, pg 2.
“On each of the two greatest foundation logs were brass plates with the following inscription: “This log, 3 feet by 3 1/2 feet, and 125 feet long, cut from a Washington yellow-fir tree 7 feet 8 inches in diameter and 350 feet long.” – A history of the World’s Columbian exposition held in Chicago in 1893, By Rossiter Johnson, 1897. pg 487, & Chicago: Its History and Its Builders–Josiah Seymour Currey, 1918 . pg 78.
Another foundation tree log was also described as, “A Washington yellow fir tree 7 feet 11 in diameter and 340 feet long” – The School Journal -1893 E.L. Kellogg & Co. pg. 85. It thus appears that at least two, and perhaps several trees, 340 to 350 feet long yielded 125 foot foundation logs for the massive Washington State Building, or Log Cabin at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. A 238 foot Douglas fir flag pole was also erected at the Exposition, cut from a tree near Everett that originally stood over 300 feet tall. – Iron Age, Volume 50. Dec 22, 1892 pg 1208.
The giant Fir flag pole was cut from a Douglas fir over 300 feet in height near Everett, Washington and some more details of this tree are recorded which tend to substantiate such a stature above 300 feet:
“Another tree even more remarkable, though not so large, was cut by Mr.
Angus M’Dougall of Tacoma for the Chicago Exhibition in 1893. This grew in
Snohomish Co., Washington, and measured on the stump only 4 feet in diameter. In
falling it broke off at a height of 238 feet, where it measured 17-1/2 inches in diameter,
and was nearly free from branches to a height of 216 feet, which length was sent to
– The Trees of Great Britain and Ireland. Henry John Elwes, and Augustine Henry -1906, Page 163
340 ft “One tree cut on Graham Island, off the coast of British Columbia, is reported to have been 17 feet in diameter on the stump, and 340 feet tall. Mature trees vary from 400 to 8OO years in age.” – News and Views, Volumes 3-5. California Division of Beaches and Parks, 1945. pg 10. (Note: Graham Island is outside the range of Douglas fir, perhaps this was some specimen of giant Sitka Spruce).
340 ft “Under date of December 5th 1919 the West Coast Lumbermen’s Association kindly offered the Society a Douglas Fir flag pole to range from 150 to 340 feet delivered free to this city with the compliments of that association.” – New York Historical Society quarterly bulletin, Volume 3 – 1920 pg 130.
341 ft A Douglas fir 341 ft tall, and 10 ft in diameter was felled by loggers in 1917, 6 Kilometers north of Cloverdale, BC. The stump, and fallen tree were measured by Dr Al Carder and his father when Carder was a boy of 7 years old. Read fascinating first hand account here: http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/what-you-can-do/plan-your-legacy/nls-donor-spotlight/donor-spotlight-al-carder.html
346 ft A Douglas fir tree 346 ft tall was cut for a flagpole and was raised at Camp Lewis, Washington in 1918, but the pole fractured during the ceremony! – Spokane Daily Chronicle – Oct 11, 1918 pg 6. & ‘Donna Turnipseed, Directorate of Public Works Cultural Resources manager, and Dr. Duane Denfeld, architectural historian, shared the history of the flagpole.
In 1917, the then Camp Lewis gained distinction as having the largest American flag to fly to date. The Tacoma Daily Ledger newspaper had a fundraiser to acquire a flag bigger than the one flown on the 135-foot steel flagpole at Camp Jackson, S.C. The 60- by 90-foot flag raised at Camp Lewis weighed 257 pounds. The 314-foot tall first pole, made from a 346-foot-tall tree, and set into a 9-ton concrete base, snapped after the initial flag raising Oct. 12, 1918. “It was a small ceremony, and the flagpole ended up splitting in three places from the weight of the flag,” Turnipseed said.’- Construction crew unearths record-setting flagpole base
“The Daily Ledger campaign had one more step, and that was to locate a tall, straight fir tree for the flagpole. Prominent lumberman Lynn H. Miller (1877-1936) of the International Spar Company, based on Harbor Island in Seattle, sent loggers out into western Washington forests to find the tree. International Spar had experience with long trees since it provided masts and booms to shipyards in the United States and England. It took some time to find the right tree. The 346-foot tree was taken to the company’s plant and shaped into a flagpole that would be 314 feet tall. The pole was cut and strengthened with two splices. It was anchored in a 9-ton concrete block.” – World’s tallest flagpole cracks into pieces when world’s largest flag is unfurled from it at Camp Lewis flag-raising ceremony on October 12, 1918. HistoryLink.org Essay 11077
347 ft Astoria, Oregon Douglas Fir cut for flagpole 251 feet tall, Panama-Pacific Exposition.– Pamphlets on Wood Preservation, 1900-1915, University of California. pg 4 & Friends’ Intelligencer – Volume 72 – 1915, Page 316. Also See: Bell Telephone News, Volume 5, 1915. pg 20. http://books.google.com/books?id=FJnmAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA2-PA20&lpg=RA2-PA20#v=onepage&q&f=false
348 ft “Forest Service records a Douglas Fir with a measured height of 380 feet, and I, personally, have seen many over 300, one 348.” By Joseph T. Hazard, Pacific Crest Trails from Alaska to Cape Horn–1948, pg. 64
350 ft– “PSEUDOTSUGA DOUGLASII,… – Often one of the tallest trees known (in favorable loclities, in Oregon, even 300-350 feet high), with very thick, much cracked, brown bark….” – The botanical works of the late George Engelmann, collected for …, Volume 1, 1887 pg 347.
350 ft “Fir trees are often found from 300 to 350 feet high. In connection with this it is observed that the upper portion of the tree shows larger annual growths in the center than are found near the butt.” – OREGON The Land Of Opportunity Compiled by M.D. Wisdom, 1909 Oregon Commission of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: Forest Wealth Of Oregon 1909 By Edmund P. Sheldon, Secretary Oregon State Board of Forestry. A Place Called Oregon – 1909
350 feet Siletz Indian Reservation, Oregon c. 1907. Fir trees reported up to 350 feet tall. Morning Oregonian. November 19, 1907 Page 11 & Morning Oregonian. August 10, 1908 Page 9. Some large Fir trees up to 11 feet diameter remain today at the “Valley of the Giants”, North fork of Siletz River, west of Valsetz, Oregon: The Valley of the Giants – Dianne Roth350 ft Columbia County, Oregon. Whole sections of Fir trees were cruised at an average height of 275 ft tall, and 6 ft diameter yielding 10 to 15 cuts of 12 foot logs from below the first branches, free from knots. Some sections running as high as 350 feet tall! – The Oregon mist. (St. Helens, Columbia County, Or.) April 21, 1893, Pg. 1
350 ft Mossyrock, Wa. 1939 A fir tree 350 feet tall, and 11 feet in diameter was felled and sent to Olympia. It scaled 40,000 Board feet – Centralia Daily Chronicle, July 19, 1939, pg. 1. & St. Petersburg Times – Aug 9, 1939 pg 8.
350 ft “Recently a log from one these fallen firs was taken to Washington, where it was on exhibition, It was part of a six hundred-year-old tree which had attained a height of 350 feet. The log weighed 60 tons and will furnish 16,690 feet of timber.” Ireton Ledger, Sep. 5, 1935 pg. 3
350 ft “Largest Tree in State,” 350 feet tall, 16 feet diameter. – Sedro Woolley, Wa. May 8, 1902. Photograph taken by Darius Kinsey. Kinsey photo collection – Kinsey photographer, 1978 —pg. 152-153. #160 – Fir Tree Undercut by Darius Kinsey. “
350 ft “Many trees, each over 280 feet tall, have been measured about Blaine [Wa]. Others in that vicinity and elsewhere reach to a height of 350 feet. There are without doubt large numbers of trees in Washington over 300 feet high.” – Forest Leaves – pg. 162 by Pennsylvania Forestry Association, American Forestry Association, 1890.
350 ft – “In Skagit County is a forest of Douglas pine and white cedar in which there are many trees reaching 325 feet high, and some of them are fully 350 feet high.” Forest Leaves – Page 162 by Pennsylvania Forestry Association, 1922.
350 ft “The river is deep and the banks are straight, so every rancher has a landing and delivers his produce on the bank of the river and the river steamer carries it to its destination. I thought I had seen big timbers in Michigan, but it is small in comparison to that in northwestern Washington Territory. It is nothing to see trees six and eight feet in diameter and three hundred and fifty feet high. The largest tree I saw was twelve feet in diameter, that was a cedar. The land along the Skaget is very rich and productive, that is, for crops that will grow there.” – Firemen’s Magazine, Volume 8, 1884 pg 420.
350 ft “Douglas fir trees often grow seven feet to twelve feet in diameter at the ground and up to one hundred and fifty feet in height without a branch. One tree was measured fourteen feet in diameter at a point six feet above the ground and it was approximately three hundred and fifty feet high. A Douglas fir tree twelve feet in diameter at the butt was cut in Coos County, Oregon, in January, 1920, yielding 43,320 board feet of sawed lumber, valued at $1,500.” – American Lumberman, May 8, 1920. pg 62
350 ft “On the shores of Puget Sound the bulk of the forests of trees stand 250 feet high, while firs have been cut measuring almost 350 feet in height.” – The sun. (New York [N.Y.]) April 22, 1906, Third Section, Page 5.350 ft A “Cedar” tree on the propert of J. M. Hockett near Kalama, Washington was reportedly 350 feet tall and 18 feet in diameter. Whole townships in that section were reportedly covered in fir trees 250 to 350 feet high. -The Corvallis gazette. July 04, 1890 Image 1.
250-350 ft Logs from Fir trees 5 to 11 feet in diameter and 250 to 350 feet tall were small enough to handle at lumber mills at Seattle and Port Gamble, while larger trees baffled the skill of lumbermen in handling. The new Northwest. (Portland, Or.) December 22, 1881, Page 5:
350+ft Quoting from Dr J. R. Cardwell, President of the Oregon Board of Horticulture,”The trees of our forests, owing to the favorable influences referred to, are of rich, dark green foliage, rapid growth to enormous proportions, commonly from 3 to 6 feet in diameter, 350 feet high, sometimes more, and 185 feet to the first limb. This I state from actual measurements from trees prone on the ground.” – Our Conifers Economically Considered. By Dr J.R. Cardwell – 5th Biennial Report of the Oregon Board of Horticulture, 1899 pg. 544-549. Note: It is likely that Dr Cardwell measured these fallen trees while clearing his land for his gardens. He owned several properties in the Portland area, as he was one of the early pioneers to Oregon in 1852, becoming Portland’s first dentist.
350 ft Trees from 250 to 350 feet high are common sights. A fir tree recently cut near Clallam Bay was 13 feet in diameter at the butt, and a 100-foot log cut therefrom, which was seven feet in diameter at the top, scaled 84,100 feet of lumber. Report by Washington (State). Bureau of Statistics, Agriculture and Immigration – 1896, pg 112.
350 ft Estimated Height of the big Fir at Westholme, Vancouver Is. BC. Blown down 1913, Estimated to be 1500 years old, 17-feet diameter. 180 ft to blown top, and 150 ft to first branch. (See Forest Giants, Carder pgs 1 – 10) http://twpaterson.com/second-largest-douglas-fir-recalls-westholme-giant/
350+ft Estimated original Height of Queets Fir, Queets River, WA. Currently it is 202 ft to a broken top 6.7 ft diameter, and the Breast height diameter is 15.9 ft. Age is calculated at over 1,000 years old! The original height of this tree may have once easily exceeded 350 feet as estimated by the late Randy Stoltmann, and Dr Al Carder of B.C. (See Graphic from Western Canada Wilderness Committee, 1986 article ” Last of the Giants.”) The break at 200 feet is still over 6 feet thick, and as Dr. Carder notes in his book, Forest Giants, page 13, that for every foot of thickness in the trunk of these old growth Douglas fir, it is no exaggeration to conclude 25 to 30 linear feet of height. Taking that into account, this tree might even have been approaching 400 feet at one time in its thousand year life.
350+ ft The Mt. Pilchuck giant. Snohomish County, Washington. Felled On October 22, 1952, one and a half miles from Verlot at the foot of Mt Pilchuck. Over 350 feet in height, 11 feet 6 inches by 10 ft 3 inches in diameter at the cut, and 700 years old yielding 30,000 board feet from a 100 ft log. – The Arlington Times – Oct 30, 2002 pg 9. See Images below:
For more images of the Mt. Pilchuck giant fir at the Roal-Oberg mill, visit the Granite Falls Museum website: http://granitefalls.pastperfect-online.com/34971cgi/mweb.exe?request=keyword;keyword=roal%20oberg;dtype=d
300 ft + Kapowsin, Washington, 1922. 9 feet diameter, over 300 feet high, 7 logs 32 ft long each (totalling 224 ft high) were cut below its branches. The Miami News – Aug 14, 1922 pg 58. Also, see above article of another fir tree cut at Kapowsin in 1937, 9 feet in diameter at the butt and scaling 70,000 feet of lumber. Such a market volume for a tree of that diameter must have also required a height well above 300 feet.
350 ft+ (My Estimate of original Height, extrapolating from log length, taper, and board footage). A Fir cut down in King Co. Wa measured 9 ft in diameter at the butt, and 4 ft 8 in at the top, 186 ft long, and scaled 64,000 feet of lumber. – Report By Washington (State). Bureau of Statistics, Agriculture and Immigration, 1896. pg. 33
350 ft? At Bellingham, Washington a log 12 feet in diameter at the butt, 278 feet long, scaled 105,000 board feet, Scribner rule. – The Yield of Douglas Fir in the Pacific Northwest, By Richard Edwin McArdle U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1930 pg 7. [Note: Often 50 to 100 feet of the top section, 2 or 3 feet in diameter was discarded from the tree as non merchantable and knotty, suggesting a log of 278 feet with that high of a yield, necessitated a tree perhaps 300 to 350 or more feet in original height by my estimates]. At the bottom of page 7 of McArdle’s report, he lists several examples of Douglas fir recorded over the years by the US Forestry service at 300 to 380 feet tall, and other examples of large volume, including the Mineral Tree.
350 ft – A tree 350 feet tall and 8 ft diameter was reportedly felled by T. F. Strain of Tacoma, Washington in 1870 on his property. – American Bee Journal, Volume 53, 1913 pg 100.
350 ft “The yellow fir is the soundest and best timber in the United States. Easy of handling, it can be cut down as cheaply as white pine, though it rise to the immense height of two hundred feet (sometimes) without a limb, and to a height of often three hundred and fifty feet from the but, including tops. At the base it frequently measures six, seven, eight, nine, ten and even twelve feet in diameter at but where cut off for manufacture.” -Magazine of Western History, Volume 12, 1890 pg 81 “Tacoma, Washington” by Will L. Visscher.
350 -400 ft RE: Douglas Firs up to 465 Feet tall. – Trees Forum – Garden Web. Posted by j50wells none (My Page) on Wed, Jan 4, 12 at 12:33 Good post Jimmy. My granpa was a logger for fifty years down on the south coast near Brookings. In the 1930’s and 1940’s they did alot of logging in that area. He told me there was alot of Redwood, but not as tall as the one’s in California. He did mention that occassionally they would find a Douglas fir that was well over 300′ tall. I don’t doubt that some of them pushed close to 400′. My grandpa was a very honest man and would tell some great stories about logging. Sometimes he would mix facts up but he would always back up and say , “oops, that’s not the way it was, here’s what really happened.” He was not a liar or the type that would exaggerate, so I believe that he did fall some trees in the 350 to 400 foot range.
350 ft Grays Harbor, Washington 1910, 10 ft Diameter. From the Bothell Sentinel and Citizen, June 4, 1910 pg 6: “Programme for state convention of Bankers”…”A Joint Committee of the bankers of the cities of Hoquiam and Aberdeen are preparing a very elaborate pro-gramme of entertainment, which will include a visit to the great manufac-turing plants of Grays Harbor, a trip on the harbor and a visit to one of the great lumber camps, where the visit-ers will witness the felling of a for-est giant ten feet in thickness and 350 feet high.”
350 – 400 ft Near Latourell, Oregon. An immense grove of giant firs situated in a protected flat surrounded by high bluffs, between Bull creek and the Hood river. Trees estimated at 350 to 400 feet high with circumference estimated over 60 feet at 3 feet above ground. Portsmouth Herald, July 18, 1900 pg. 5
320 ft – 350 ft Trees measured by Colonel Richard Clement Moody of the Royal Engineers, at or around New Westminster, B.C. about 1863. (I estimate these trees may have been closer to 350 ft before they hit the ground, as Colonel Moody told the Royal Geographical Society in 1863-64, that in a couple of instances the fallen tree trunks were still as thick as his waist where he left off measuring at 320 feet in length, where the top splintered off in the falling. These trees were measured by Colonel Richard Clement Moody of the Royal Engineers and related to the Royal Geographical Society in response to a paper on Vancouver Island, and British Columbia written by Dr. Charles Forbes).
The Royal Geographical Society quotes and summarizes several points made by Colonel Moody:
350 ft “On the site of what is now Vancouver city–the present terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway–and in the neighborhood of that town, on Burrard Inlet, was a renowned group of these trees, and “many still standing around the city, are from 250 to 350 feet high and 12 feet in diameter at the base, or about 36 feet in girth,” growing so close together that the trees almost seem to touch each other…” – The Wilderness and Its Tenants – By John madden 1897, pg. 168.
350 ft “Some of these sylvan giants are of almost incredible dimensions, twenty four to thirty feet in circumference, eight to ten feet in diameter, at the base, running up straight as arrows perhaps 350 feet, more than 200 feet of which is without a knot or limb, and at that height from three to five feet in diameter. Of course, these are extraordinary trees; Some of them contain 25,000 feet of lumber. But if any “doubting Thomas” will come out to Puget Sound with the desire to satisfy himself upon this point, we can furnish the standing arguments needful to convince his mind that the extraordinary facts are true. I can even tell him of one fir tree sixteen feet in diameter measured with the surveyor’s chain. But lest some honest reader might be misled by the above extraordinary figures, I will say that the trees of a good timber claim will average from 180 to 300 feet in height and from three to six feet in diameter, with from one to two hundred feet of clear straight trunk, consisting of the very best spar and ship timber produced by the forests of the world.” – The pictorial cabinet of marvels, By Pictorial cabinet, Harrison Weir, 1878, pg 387.
350 ft “There the trees, crowded close together, rise to a height of 300 feet; indeed, lumbermen report trees 350 feet high, with trunks 11 feet in diameter, free of branches for 200 feet, and with hardly any perceptible taper up to that height.” – The Humeston New Era, July 26, 1916 pg. 4
350 ft “Firstly, it may be said that previous to the year 1885, the place now occupied by this city [Vancouver] was a wilderness of gigantic trees, some of them being fully twelve feet diameter a few feet above the ground, and from 300 to 350 feet in height, all of which had to be cut down and rooted out before a house could be built.” – 3800 Miles Across Canada – By John Wilton Cuninghame Haldane 1908, pg 224.
350 ft “Under favourable conditions the Douglas fir averages 180 ft. in height and 3 to 4 ft. in diameter, but it sometimes reaches a height of 350 ft. and a diameter of 10 ft.” – Native Trees of Canada, By B.R. Morton. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, CANADA – FORESTRY BRANCH BULLETIN No. 61, 1921. pg 38
351 ft A Douglas fir felled in the coastal mountains near Astoria, Oregon, circa 1903. “The fir is both red and yellow. It grows five to 14 feet in diameter, and 150 to 300 feet tall (351 feet is said to have been measured on one fallen tree in the coast mountains.) …” – The Morning Astorian. Astoria, Or. January 01, 1903, Page 7. See also The Morning Astorian April 07, 1905, Page 6, & Rand-McNally guide to the Great Northwest – 1903 pg 35-36.
352 ft Lynn Valley, N Vancouver BC, Felled in 1907, 9 ft 8 in diameter. 220 feet to lowest branch. This tree contained 16 logs of wood, 16 feet per log. Top 92 feet discarded. Height 352 feet including 4 ft stump. Details are recounted by historian Walter Mackay Draycott of Lynn Valley, BC from old lumberman William Mitchell of Lynn Valley. “Early Days in Lynn Valley” pg. 29. Also, see Forest Giants, Carder pg 1 -10.
354 ft A Douglas fir tree 9-1/2 feet in diameter 3 feet above ground and 354 feet tall was said to have been felled in August, 1857 by the young George H. Himes, (who later became curator and assistant secretary of the Oregon Historical Society) then a boy of 13 or 14 years old, with assistance of another man. (Note: This tree was probably felled some four or five miles east of Olympia, Washington on the Tyrus Himes or David Chambers property where the young George Himes worked into his early adulthood clearing land, logging, and farming). – American Lumberman – No. 2412 August 6, 1921 pg 64.
355 ft “The tallest tree on record in Canada today is a Douglas fir in Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island. It is over 108 m tall.” — Countdown Canada: A conceptual Geography study, By Alderdice, Roy, Vass, Ben, Sled, George, Published 1977 Macmillan of Canada pg 7 -10. Note: Further reference to this tree eludes me, perhaps it was forgotten, blew down, or was one of the very tall fir trees reported around Puntledge Ridge, Strathcona Park in the 1960s to 1980s. In 1987, Randy Stoltmann of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee mentioned tall Douglas fir at Puntledge River, Strathcona Park reaching heights of up to 305 feet (93 meters).358 ft Cloverdale, Surrey, BC. Tallest Fir measured by a BC forester. Discovered in 1881 by William Shannon, while constructing Hall’s Prairie Rd. Measured after being Felled, 1,100 yr old. 11.5 ft diameter and 358 feet tall. (Forest Giants, Carder pg 1 -10). William Shannon – Cloverdale
360 ft “…Douglas-firs along Oregon’s Millicoma River, topped 360 feet.” – Analysis of a Pre-existing Condition: the Northwest’s Old-growth Forests, by Chuck Bolsinger Published: Saturday, October 15, 2011, 12:03 PM The Oregonian. http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/10/analysis_of_a_pre-existing_con.html
Charles L. Bolsinger worked as a researcher with the US Forestry Service for many years, so his statements on the size of the trees, and the forest conditions of the past I believe carry much credibility. I recently found a report written by Dr. Bob Zybach on the Millicoma Tree Farm and Pillsbury Tract entitled: “Oregon Coast Range Old-Growth: The 1945-1947 Weyerhaeuser Coos Bay Study Dr. Bob Zybach” (Links to DOCX file) He highlights some of the Weyerhaeuser Forestry Department 1945-1946 Timber Cruise report findings, quote:
“A high average net volume of 73,900 board feet per acre was found for the 180-year old stands on site I in the [Millicoma] area.”
“Stands of the [Pillsbury] area are less uniform and more defective.”
“Several trees were over 300 feet tall and one 332-footer may be a record for Douglas fir.”
So it appears that the Millicoma tree farm & Pillsbury tract (which extended to the south forks of Coos and Coquille rivers) did in fact have at least a few Douglas-fir measured in the 300 to 332 foot high range, according to Timber Cruise records of Weyerhaeuser in the forties conducted by Arthur V. Smyth & others. This section of Coos County, Oregon is particularly rich in the tallest living giant Douglas fir today, in the 300 to 330 foot high range, with dozens of very tall trees discovered in the past 30 years, and new discoveries being made with assistance of LiDAR data (See DOGAMI & Ascending the Giants in OPB special on tallest trees in Oregon Nov. 2017, As well as 2011 expedition of Taylor, Vaden & Atkins in Coos County). The Brummett or Doerner fir reached 329 feet in 1988, and other trees 320 to 330 feet or more have been measured in the same creek in the 1950s. Added to this the many old newspaper stories of trees 300 to 360 feet tall in this part of Coos and Douglas counties, the old Pillsbury tract and Weyerhaeuser Millicoma Tree farm probably contained many giant trees, perhaps some of the world’s tallest before major logging began.
360+ ft A fir tree standing over 360 feet high, 15 feet in diameter, and over 100 feet to first limb near Loon Lake, Douglas County, Oregon was photographed and reported to the Coos Bay Times newspaper in 1914 by Jack McDonald, Sawmill owner, and co-founder of McDonald-Vaughan Logging Company. – The Coos Bay times. (Marshfield, Or.) June 09, 1914, EVENING EDITION, Page 1:
360 ft “Till recently it was by no means rare to meet in the pine groves of Washington and Oregon specimens of the yellow pine 260 and even 360 feet high.” – The Earth and Its Inhabitants …: The United States – Page 419, Elisée Reclus, Ernest George Ravenstein, Augustus Henry Keane – 1893
350 ft+ Fir trees over 350 feet high estimated along the Deming trail, Middle Fork of Nooksack river valley in 1909. “The timber began to get larger and by the time we had traversed three miles upon the trail we viewed countless numbers of gigantic fir trees growing not less than fifty feet apart and towering at least 350 feet into the air.” Deming Trail, Whatcom Co. Wa. Bellingham Herald – July 10, 1909.
375 ft Vancouver Island, BC. – Mason City Globe-Gazette, Nov. 4, 1961 pg. 20.
375 ft Quoting Governor William A. Newell of Washington Territory who was interviewed by the Camden, N.J. Courier in June 3, 1882: “…Trees attain an almost incredible size, a full grown fir averaging four feet in diameter, running up a straight shaft, almost without a limb, to an average height of two hundred and twent-five feet. Many are of a much larger dimension, ranging from seven to fourteen feet in diameter, and reaching a height of three hundred and sevent-five feet.” – Seattle daily post-intelligencer. (Seattle, W.T. [Wash.) 1881-1888, June 28, 1882, pg. 3
300-400 ft “Sir Edward Belcher and many others describe the pine trees in the Oregon territory to be from two hundred and fifty to three hundred feet in height and from twenty to forty feet in circumference while Sir George Simpson speaks of having seen trees near the Columbia River from three to four hundred feet high. The latter must be about the largest trees in the world.”- Transactions of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, Volume 4 – 1843, pg 286.
300-400 ft The gigantic fir trees of Washington are often between 300 and 400 feet high, a single one sometimes furnishing 100,000 feet of lumber. To eastern eyes the stumps left standing look very strange. They are from five to fifteen feet high. –Newark Daily Advocate Sep. 27, 1889.
400 ft. [Fort George /Astoria, Oregon c. 1846] “There was a monstrous fir pine that had been blown up by the roots, and it looked as if it had been down for many years. Some of the boys measured it and reported that it was twelve feet in diameter at the butt and three hundred and thirty feet in length to where it had been sawed off to make a roadway. It was eighteen inches in diameter where it had been sawed off ; so the boys concluded that it must have been about four hundred feet high.” — Burr Osborn, Survivor of Howison Expedition to Oregon, 1846 — Oregon Historical Quarterly – Page 361 by Oregon Historical Society – Oregon – 1913.
380 ft Nisqually River, Wa. 1899 or 1900, measured as a fallen tree near Ashford, Wa. at 380 feet in length, with a small portion of top missing. Measured with steel tape by USFS ranger Edward Tyson Allen, one of the early technically trained foresters who was stationed in Portland, Oregon. – Forest Giants, Carder pg 2, E.T. Allen. Red Fir in the Northwest, unpublished typescript in library of Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Portland, Oregon, 1899 or 1900, p. 5. See also letter from E.T. Allen to R.H. McKee, Seattle, Apr. 3, 1924; Richard E. McArdle, Some Notes on Maximum Sizes, Ages, and Yield of Forest Trees, U.S. Department of Agriculture (hereafter USDA) Forest Service Pamphlet, Nov. 22, 1926, p. 7; and E.L. Kolbe, Big Tree Statistics for the North Pacific Region, Data Sheet, June 7, 1933, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Portland, Oregon. http://books.google.com/books?id=UFQyAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA67#v=onepage&q&f=false
385 ft Near Elma, Washington in 1896. Quoting from the “West Coast Lumberman,” a fir tree was cut down and measured 385 feet in length. Nearby was another fallen fir, which was 6 feet diameter at the stump, and at 225 feet had broken in two. At the break it was still 3 feet diameter. [Note: this second tree also likely exceeded 300 ft, if we extrapolate from log taper]. – Omaha Daily Bee, February 03, 1896, Page 5.
393 ft Mineral, Washington. Blown down in 1929 or 1930, 1,020 years old. 15.4 ft. diameter at breast height, and 6 ft. in diameter at 225 ft to broken top. Height measured by USFS Chief Richard McArdle in 1924 with steel tape and Abney level at 225. 168 ft of blown top measured on the ground and recorded in 1905 by Joe Westover, land engineer from Northern Pacific Railway. The tree and blown top was measured again in 1930 by Jesse Hurd, superintendent of Pacific National Lumber Company’s operations in Mineral, and again in the 1930 -1931 by University of Washington forestry students (See Photo below). A section of this tree still resides at the Wind River Arboretum, Wa. For more details about this tree see Forest Giants, Carder 1995 pg 3, Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast, Robert Van Pelt, Global Forest Society, 2001 pgs. 16, 22, & 44, Genetics of Douglas Fir, Roy R. Silen, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Research Paper WO-35, 1978 pg 5, Isaac and Dimock 1965, and McArdle, Richard E. (1930). The Yield of Douglas Fir in the Pacific Northwest. United States Department of Agriculture. Technical Bulletin No. 201. pg 7, and plate 5. Development and dominance of Douglas-fir in North American rainforests, Stephen C. Sillett, Robert Van Pelt, et al – Forest Ecology and Management 429 (2018) 93-114, page 2.
Regarding above photograph of fallen Mineral tree: “The Archie Memorial “Remember When” Photo Steve Archie, ’66, former editor of the Washington Forester enjoyed collecting and selecting old photos for the “Remember When” photo which appeared in many past issues of our newsletter. His files will permit us to continue the tradition for a while longer. This photograph taken by William A. Eastman, Jr.,’ 33 shows some members of his sophomore class at the site of the fallen Big Tree of Mineral, WA. Professor Alexander’s class at Pack Forest, having just finished constructing Biltmore-Hypsometer sticks, traveled to Mineral where they visited this giant Douglas-fir which had fallen during a 1929-1930 winter storm. The class took various measurements of the tree. It was estimated that the tree was 1,020 years old when it fell, 15.4 feet dbh and 385 feet tall. The height has been the subject of some speculation as the top had blown off many years before the tree fell and no written record of the length of the fallen top has been found. But it is believed that Leo Isaac measured the fallen top to arrive at a total height of 385 feet. This photo also appeared in the American Forests magazine of June 1981. It appears that Bill took the photo in April 1931 although 1930 is also listed as the date. Can anybody shed any light on the correct date and the length of the blown out top? ” – See Link: http://www.cfr.washington.edu/aboutTheSchool/printNewsletter/99-Summer/wafor.html
350-400 ft “It is, however, the fact that the trees cut in the Oregon region are generally young and of small size, while those cut in Washington, especially by the mills along the South Bend branch of the Northern Pacific Railway are giants, many of them being from 350 to 400 feet in height, and from five to fourteen feet in diameter.” –Telephony: Volume 61 – Page 183. Harry B. McMeal – 1911
350 – 400 ft A Report from North western Washington of multiple Douglas fir trees 300 to 400 ft tall, from 9 to 14 ft diameter on the south fork of the Nooksack river, near the railroad at Licking station [Hopewell Road, Everson] in Whatcom county, south of the village of Nooksack, and located on Indian land. The tallest were judged to be from 350 to possibly 400 feet high, and over 200 feet to lowest branches, and 500,000 board feet to the acre. These trees were specially cruised by request of the World’s Fair Commission by local miner, lumberman and prospector Mr. John M. Saar (Saar creek) of Sumas, and Mr. S. H. Soule. – Aberdeen Herald – August 06, 1891, Pg 8., and The Seattle Post-intelligencer – Sunday, July 19th, 1891 – Page 16.
400 ft “I have not been able to obtain any reliable information concerning the maximum height of the Douglas Spruce. Lumbermen on Puget Sound habitually speak of trees from three hundred to three hundred and fifty feet tall, but their statements, unsupported by actual measurements, must be accepted cautiously. It is not impossible, however, that this tree may grow to even a greater height than three hundred and fifty feet, as large specimens in some of the sheltered valleys at the base of the Olympic Mountains of northwestern Washington tower far above the surrounding forest, which undoubtedly has an average height of nearly three hundred feet. In this region and on the western slopes of Mt. Rainier in Washington, trunks from ten to eleven feet in diameter five feet above the surface of the ground and free of branches for two hundred or two hundred and fifty feet are not rare, two or three such trees sometimes standing on an acre of ground. Individuals twelve feet in diameter may occasionally be seen, although they are very rare, and lumbermen and prospectors tell of trees with trunks sixteen feet in diameter.”- The silva of North America: a description of the trees which grow …, Volume 12 By Charles Sprague Sargent – 1898. pg. 88
400 ft “Papa and my brother-in-law cut down a fir tree that was four hundred feet high and ten feet through at the base of the tree.” – Myra G. Monsey, age 12. Snohomish Co. Washington, 1898 – Farm, Field, and Fireside, 19 March 1898 pg 375. Note: 12 year old Myra G. Monsey was the daughter of Captain John Monsey, and Mabel Hutchins Monsey, pioneers of Hartford, north of Lake Stevens, Snohomish County, Washington who had moved from Ohio with their six children in 1888. Their 40 acre land claim had immense trees with dense forest surrounding it, “to see the sun one must look straight up,” and fallen 8 feet diameter logs surrounded their cabin when they arrived in 1890…”Eventually the Monsey’s achieved their dream of building a new frame house using timber from their property, milled locally. As the trees came down, Lake Stevens came into view, a daily joy.” – Mabel Monsey: Chronicles of a Farm Wife, 1891-1903 . The Snohomish County Women’s Legacy Project
400 ft “There are 23,588,512 acres of timber land in Washington. In height, fir trees average from 200 to 400, and 100 to the first limb in many instances. In Tillamook county, Oregon there are fir trees from 15 to 30 feet in diameter. Cedar trees that are from 12 to 20 feet in diameter and from 150 to 350 feet high, with the first limb 90 or 100 feet from the ground, are called “large” and “fine.” At present rates of consumption the Pacific coast could supply the world for 70 years. Washington’s supply would be exhausted by the world in half that time.” – Mining and Scientific Press, Volume 66, Feb 4, 1893 pg 69.
400 ft “…the writer knows personally of whole townships in that county [Chehalis]that will cruise from 6,000,000 to 12,000,000 feet to the quarter section. On one occasion he stood and counted within a radius of about two hundred feet no less than sixty-four trees, not one of which was less than four feet in diameter, and from two hundred to four hundred feet in height, besides as many more smaller ones that might be termed ‘merchantable timber.” -Scientific American – Page 44. July 20, 1895
400 ft “In the typical fir forests, the trees, crowded close together, become very tall, two hundred fifty to four hundred feet high, and sometimes eight to twelve feet in diameter.”The Pacific Monthly by William Bittle Wells – 1903 pg. 345
400 ft “Pine trees growing in Island county, in Puget Sound, are often found to have attained a height of four hundred feet.” – Transactions of the Illinois State Horticultural Society, Volume 12 By Illinois State Horticultural Society pg. 239. 1879
400 ft “The maximum height known is nearly 400 feet; the greatest diameter of the stem is 14 feet. Can be grown very closely, when the stems will attain, according to Drs. Kellogg and Newberry, a height of over 200 feet without a branch.” – Select Extra-Tropical Plants Readily Eligable For Industrial Culture Or Naturalization, With Indications Of Their Native Countries And Some Of Their Uses. – Baron Ferd. Von Mueller, 1884 pg. 268
400 ft “From the Cascade range to the Pacific, compromising about one-half of Washington Territory, the surface is densely covered with the finest forest growth in the world. Some of the trees, straight as an arrow, are four hundred feet in height, and fourteen feet in diameter near the ground.” — Resources of the Pacific Slope: A Statistical and Descriptive Summary… By John Ross Browne 1869, pg 574
400 ft “Here, too, it reaches its greatest dimensions, it being claimed that about the base of Mt. Rainier there are trees [Douglas Fir] over 400 feet in height.” The American Naturalist 1899 by American Society of Naturalists, pg. 391
400 ft “These Ranier fir crossarms, which have become noted for their strength and extreme durability, are made from the old yellow fir trees, giants of the forest, which grow on the Cascade Mountains in Washington. Some of the trees run from 14 to 16 feet in diameter and 400 feet in height, 200 to 250 feet without a branch.” – Electrical Review, Volume 61, 1912. pg 997.
400 ft “In its native habitats, the Douglas fir varies considerably in dimensions. In the forests of Washington State it often reaches a height of 250 feet, with a girth of 36 feet. There, trees so high as 300 feet have been seen. These trees are therefore more than twice the height of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and would even over-shadow the Boston stump. Trees even much loftier than this have been seen, some of them almost reaching the height of the Spire of Salisbury Cathedral which is a little over 400 feet. Specimens have been known to be more than 750 years old.” Trees in Britain, By Lionel John Farnham Brimble, Macmillan, 1946 – pg 98.
400 ft “These forest giants are only surpassed in size by the California red-wood trees, of which we have heard so much. Some of them grow four hundred feet high and fifteen feet through, single trees yielding eighty thousand feet of sawed lumber.” – Our native land By George Titus Ferris, 1882, pg. 130.
400 ft Fir tree 400 feet tall. – Chronicle Telegram, Feb. 14, 1921 pg. 2. and Current Opinion, Volume 70, Jan-June1921. Page 851.
300-400 ft. The Tallest Trees of Ravenna Park, Seattle Wa. were touted as standing over 300 to nearly 400 feet tall, and 30-60 feet in circumference, at the ground level. Various Newspapers, brochures, and photo captions give heights of different trees in the grove, that were from 250, 270, 300 and up to about 400 feet high when they were still standing in the 1910s where visitors would pay 25 cents to view the trees. The Roosevelt, Robert E. Lee, Paderewski, McDowell, and other trees named in the grove were reported to stand at these heights, among other trees of great size in the park before the City of Seattle acquired the property, with all the big trees eventually being logged by the 1920s. See Article by Historian Peter Blecha, Ravenna Park (Seattle) 1/23/2011. Also See Artist Holly Glaspey’s neat installation of the Ravenna Park trees.
270 ft* – The Roosevelt tree, Ravenna Park, Seattle Washington, 1908. Described as 60 feet in circumference at the base and 370 feet – The Lynden tribune. (Lynden, Wash.) November 26, 1908, pg 6 Note: Later reports have it that the tree was “over 200 feet” before it was cut down, variously described as 270 to 280 feet. This may have been due to the fact the tree was reported to have been dying, and perhaps was decaying, or lost the top section. Or perhaps different people measured it, and hence different heights were recorded.
400 ft 1908, “Paderewski” and “Robert E. Lee” tallest trees of Ravenna Park, Seattle, Wa. Paderweski was listed as “about 400 feet tall & 30 ft circumference” (9.5 ft diameter) while the Roosevelt and Robert E Lee were reputed to be 270 feet tall as stated on old post cards with photos by Frank H. Nowell See link: Ravenna Park (Seattle) HistoryLink.org Essay 9559
400+ft ‘The height of many of the trees as they grow in the woods is very great. “I have been told,” writes Mr. Sproat in his notes, “that there was a tree lying on the ground, in some part of Puget Sound, which measured over 400 feet as it lay; but I am inclined to think the feet must have been short in this case. I can speak of what I have myself seen. The highest flag-pole in Europe is the Douglas fir one in Kew Gardens, near London, which measures 165 feet. This tree was sent home by a friend of mine from the North-West coast, and presented to the Gardens.”‘ – The countries of the world, by Robert Brown, 1876 pg 263.
400 ft Kerrisdale District, South Vancouver, BC. Felled in 1896. Julius Martin Fromme superintendent of Hastings Mill, says it was the largest Fir ever received by the Mill at almost 400 ft long. Bark up to 16″ thick. 13′ 8″ butt diameter. (Forest Giants, Carder. pg 1-10)
400 ft George Hills, first Bishop of Columbia Mission, recounted the gigantic fir trees around New Westminster, British Columbia in March of 1860 that were 180 to 300 feet tall, and as great as 13 ft in diameter, and he “heard of others 400 feet” tall. – “Visit to the Main Land – New Westminster.” – Victoria, March 9th, 1860. – An Occasional Paper on the Columbia Mission, with Letters From the Bishop. June 1860 to Nov. 1861. pg 11.
400 ft Allegedly logged by MacMillan Export Company, Copper Canyon, Vancouver Island, BC. date unknown: “Incidentally, I believe there were other fir trees in B.C. that reached heights in excess of 400 feet. It is a matter of record that one was taken out of Copper Canyon by MacMillan Export Co. in fairly recent years.” – Ernie Dalskog, Fanny Bay, B.C. – Support for Dr. Carder from Ernie Dalskog, Fanny Bay, B.C, Raincoast Chronicles Six/Ten, No. 8, 1983:166
400 ft – In 1948 a fir tree in West Vancouver, B.C. across Burrard Inlet reportedly measured 14 feet in diameter and 180 feet tall to a broken top, said to be the largest fir in the Northwest. It was estimated that at its full height it would have been about 400 feet high. – The Timberman, Volume 50, Part 2 M. Freeman Publications, 1948 – Pg 224.
400 ft 1893, a “Red fir” in Chehalis County, Wa. 400 feet high, and nearly 54 feet in circumference 6 feet from the ground. – Gettysburg Compiler, Mar. 4,1893. pg. 4.
400+ ft From “Chehalis county,” [sic] the ‘Lumberman’ was appraised of a fir “53 feet 8 inches in circumference 6 feet from the ground, and over 400 feet high, “. . .and this is doubtless the largest fir in the State.” – More deadly than war!: Pacific Coast logging, 1827-1981, Andrew Mason Prouty – 1985 pg 66. – “If there is any larger tree in the state than the one we have in Chehalis County, a tree that can be vouched for and pointed out, let us hear of its location. Our giant is vouched for by H.F. Coles of this county, who knows exactly where the tree can be found on the southwest quarter of section 10, township 16 north, range 8 west. The tree is a red fir and is 53 feet and 8 inches in circumference at a distance of six feet from the ground and has not a churn butt. Both Mr. Coles and the witness who was with him agree in believing that the tree is over 400 feet high — Oakville Globe.” – Montesano Vidette – Friday, Feb. 10, 1893 & Scientific American, Volume 67 pg. 421, Dec. 31, 1892.
400+ft 1909, a Giant fir tree over 400 feet tall East of Seattle, Wa. Located on western slope of Cascade Mountains, 17.8 ft diam, 18 inches above ground. – The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, Nov. 29, 1909 pg. 10. & “Coast and Mountain News.” Western Lumberman, Jan. 1910. pg. 16.
400 ft 16 miles from Tacoma, near Camp Lewis, Wa. According to George Crowl, who was stationed there with the Two Hundred Thirteenth field signal corps, “The camp which quartered 60,000 men, was situated in the heart of the tall fir timberland, beside American Lake. Mount Ranier, although 80 miles away, loomed up as if it were but a short distance from camp”…. “Some of the trees were 400 feet high.” – Waterloo Evening Courier, 1928-08-10 pg. 1.
400 ft In 1918 a “Spruce” tree 20 feet in diameter and near 400 feet tall was reported near Lake Pleasant Sawmill in Washington. – Monthly Bulletin, Volumes 1-2 By Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen, 1918 Pg 17.
400 ft “Special Agent Mosier writes to the general land office from Tacoma, Wash., that a grove of giant redwood trees, like those in the Yosemite National Park, Cal had been discovered in Pierce county, Wash. The secretary of the interior has ordered on investigation of the subject through the agricultural division of the census bureau, and congress may be asked to set aside the land on which the trees are standing as a national park. Mr. Mosier says that the people of Tacoma will probably have a flag pole made of one of the tallest trees to be sent to the world’s fair. Some of the trees are 400 feet high and 13 feet in diameter.” – The Princeton Union – Nov. 27, 1890 pg 6
400 ft An unconfirmed report of a 400 feet high fir tree in Oregon only 3 feet in diameter [36 inches] was under investigation by the World’s Fair commission in 1903 – The Hood River glacier., August 20, 1903, Page 5. (See Below):
407 ft A “Cedar” tree cut near Ocosta, Washington was reportedly 407 feet tall, 70 feet in circumference (23 ft diameter), 150 feet to first limb, and contained 159,875 feet of lumber. A section of the tree was exhibited at the Tacoma Fair in 1894. – The Mason County Journal, (Shelton, W.T.) Sept. 14, 1894 pg 3.
412 ft Felled near Tacoma, Wa. and measured 412 feet in length “Which Is the Biggest of Them All?” MacMillan Bloedel News, Vancouver, B.C., Nov. 1970, pg. 6. See Forest Giants, Carder pg 1 -10.
415 ft Lynn Valley, N. Vancouver B.C. Felled in 1902 by the “Tremblay Brothers” at Argyle Rd off Mountain Highway (Centre Rd) on the property of Alfred John Nye who measured the felled fir tree at 410 feet long, and 5 feet tall at the stump where the diameter was 14 feet 3 inches, and bark 13.5 in thick. The height of this growing tree was 415 ft. Details are recounted in a 1912 hand written note between historian Walter Mackay Draycott, and Mr. Alfred John Nye, both of who lived in Lynn valley, B.C. (See Walter Draycott fonds) Also, Dr. Al C. Carder remembers seeing a photograph of this same tree when he was a boy of 10 years old, his father and he were visiting the old Vancouver Museum at Main and Hastings St. in 1920. The caption on the photo read “410 feet.” – Walter M. Draycott, “Early Days in Lynn Valley”, 1978 pg. 29. & A.C. Carder, “Forest Giants of the World, Past and Present,” 1995. pg. 8. See PDF link, “British Columbia Forest History Newsletter, January 1996”: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/Library/Forest_History_Newsletter/45.pdf Also see PDF article, “A Fir Tree of the Mind,” and Dr. Carder’s compelling rebuttal to the article: www.spirasolaris.ca/DouglasFir.pdf
465 ft 1896, A fir-tree cut down at Loop’s Ranch Forks, Whatcom county, Washington, on the property of Alfred Bruce Loop at the North Fork of the Nooksack River was reportedly 465 feet high, 220 feet to the first limb, and 33 ft 11 inches in circumference at the base and scaled 96,345 feet of lumber. Ring count showed this tree to be 480 years old. A cross section of the tree was displayed on the corner of Railroad Avenue and Holly Street, New Whatcom, (Bellingham) from 1896 to 1897 with a placard listing the above dimensions. – Mining and Scientific Press, Mar 7, 1896 pg 185. , The New York Times, Topics of the Times, March 7, 1897, The Overland Monthly, 1900, pg. 329, The Columbia River Empire by Patrick Donan, Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company, 1899, pg. 68, & Meehans’ Monthly: A Magazine of Horticulture, Botany and Kindred Subjects Published by Thomas Meehan & Sons, 1897. [Note: I unearthed this report of the Whatcom fir in Feb of 2009 while perusing old book and newspaper archives online, and Ron Judd consulted me on this report in July of 2011, and published his story in the Seattle Times in September 2011 after he had contacted the current property owner of the old Loop homestead, and retrieved a photograph of the tree from the Whatcom County museum. Read full news story here: http://seattletimes.com/html/restlessnative/2016112972_restless05m.html]
More about Alfred B. Loop: http://www.theloopfamilyinamerica.org/CHAP21VH.htm
See Seattle Times Story of the “Nooksack Giant”: http://seattletimes.com/html/restlessnative/2016112972_restless05m.html
*AGENDA, per Oct. 23, 2013: I have recently been in communication with well known Seattle Arborist, plant expert, and author Mr. Arthur Lee Jacobson, and he forwarded this Seattle Times news story to the eminent author, and tree expert Dr. Al C. Carder (The primary author of giant trees who I credit at the beginning of this page). After reading the story of the Nooksack giant, Dr. Carder did not find it credible, and Arthur Lee Jacobson also found the height, “465 feet” unreasonable, as such a tall tree would stand out like a target, subjected to wind and lightning, but also the noticeable lack of other trees in this size range. I take these two gentlemen’s assessments seriously, as they are experts in plant biology, and have studied trees for decades. I suggest the reader of this blog take this reported tree’s height, and many other historic reported heights on this blog with a level of caution and healthy skepticism. Those trees whose height has been studied and researched by Dr. Carder, and are referenced in his book are in my opinion, of the highest credibility. Also, living trees (Douglas-fir, and Redwood) listed here which have been measured by laser range finder, LiDAR survey, or climbed and measured via tape, are of the very highest level of credibility.
That being said, I do find the provenance of the Nooksack tree significant, as I was able to contact the current property owner of the old Alfred Loop homestead who knew about the story of the tree, and even approximately where the stump once was, and through Ron Judd of the Seattle Times, I was able to acquire a photograph of the actual tree itself from 1897 with very detailed measurements described on the placard. So I have little doubt a great Douglas-fir was felled at the Loop ranch, but the exact, and authentic size of the tree still needs further confirmation. Keeping a skeptical but open mind, I will say the reported board foot volume of 96,345 feet is significant in my opinion, especially considering the relatively slender girth of the tree — about 34 feet, or almost 11 feet diameter. Similar 11 ft diameter Douglas fir trees in the 300 to 350 foot tall range have reportedly scaled 40,000 – 60,000 merchantable board feet–the yield of lumber beneath the first branches- yet this is only half as much as the Nooksack giant. Assuming for the sake of argument, the Nooksack tree’s board footage was a genuine number, by my estimates of extrapolating market board footage from the volume of a cone, as well as estimating prime lumber using the Doyle and Scribner scale from the 220 feet of the tree’s trunk (high grade market board feet) I have concluded the tree had to have been somewhere around 350 to 400+ feet at the minimum to account for such a massive volume of timber. To read more on my estimates of volume for this tree see link: https://rephaim23.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/nooksack-giant-my-extrapolation-of-height-volume/
Additionally, the 2008 study by Domec et al, on vertical trends in pit aperture conductance for Douglas fir suggested a theoretical maximum height of 131 – 145 meters (430 – 476 ft) with 95% confidence interval — For what it’s worth. In Dr Carder’s book Forest Giants, he gives credence to some reports of fallen Eucalyptus Regnans which were measured at over 400 to 435 feet in length. I don’t know if any height studies have been done on the theoretical limits of Eucalyptus Regnans, but with the study by Domec et al, and the fact that the Nooksack tree was apparently measured on the ground, and bucked into log lengths– it is my opinion that the tree is potentially as credible as any of the extreme claims of Eucalyptus Regnans in the 400 to 500 feet range, and was in fact only 12% taller than the Lynn Valley tree, which Dr. Carder accepted as genuine. Perhaps in time, more solid documentary evidence can be located which will ultimately refute or substantiate the purported height.
*Update: Jan. 1, 2018: After reviewing the known facts about this reported tree after nearly 9 years, and calculating the required volume and height needed for the board feet (the fact that it had twice the normal market volume of wood as 300-350 ft fir trees often yielded), and finding other reports of 350 to 400 foot trees in the greater Nooksack river valley from the 1890’s – I am now satisfied that a particularly gigantic Douglas-fir was felled at the Loop ranch in 1896, probably approximating the very dimensions recorded on the placard, (that the dimensions were written down at or shortly after the time of cutting, not allowing for years or decades of mythos to enlarge its size) and likely did really reach or exceed 400 feet, because so many over 300 foot tall trees were routinely cut down in the Cascade foot hills in the 19th century without a mention, I believe it would have taken a very large, or unusually tall tree to have made the national press for over a full year after it was logged. And it does fall within some upper ranges of biological feasibility.
430 -476 ft: A study published in 2008 proposed that Douglas fir may have a theoretical height limit of between 131 and 145 meters (430 to 476 feet). See Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7556065.stm “Vertical trends of different morphological traits have been used to estimate the maximum height to which trees can grow (1, 10). These extrapolations provide estimates that can be compared to observations to infer whether the trends within the data range persist beyond it. Using this approach, we made extrapolations of regressions fitted to the relationships between pit aperture conductance and height to predict the height at which pit aperture conductance would approach zero. This height was 138 m (131 – 145 m; 95% confidence interval) and 109 m (99 – 123 m; 95% confidence interval) in branches and trunks, respectively (Fig. 3B). This calculated range of maximum height for Douglas–fir, predicted on the basis of vertical trends in pit aperture conductance, is consistent with the historic record height range of 100 – 127 m (16, 17).” Maximum height in a conifer is associated with conflicting requirements for xylem design. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2008:
480 ft *[Unconfirmed story] A Douglas-fir felled at the south side of the Black Hills, near Bordeaux, Wa c. 1930. It was situated in a south facing valley with high ridges on either side. This tree was measured on the ground with steel tape by loggers at 480 feet in length, and 12 ft in diameter at the butt. – [Story unconfirmed 2nd hand account as of 2012] Personal online communication I had in tree forum with user “issafish”:
|My father told me that when he was working for a logging company in the 1930’s they cut down a Douglas Fir on the south side of the Black Hills in Washington State that when they got it on the ground it measured 480 feet. Of course I only have my father’s word so no proven facts. A book on Northwest logging, I forgot the title but remembered this fact, talked about a Douglas Fir of that height being cut down south of Tacoma Washington. unfortunately, almost all the old growth lowland Douglas firs have been logged, so we will never know if they truely got that big.I have included a wikipedia link that states that a study says that Douglas fir has the potential to get 476 feet tall, so there probably were some that big or bigger before they were logged.”|
There were some huge trees felled in the Black Hills in the 1930’s, perhaps the kernel behind the story exists here. See link:http://ipentimento.com/this-was-logging-in-washington-state/