For many years, the Big Pine held court over hikers, hunters, scouts and tree-lovers, standing 259 feet tall, 12 miles up Taylor Creek Road in Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest.
For a while it was the tallest known ponderosa pine tree in the world and also boasted a 17-foot circumference, according to the Seattle Times.
It was also one of 61 trees around the country named a Living Witness Tree in 1987, selected because they were alive when the U.S. Constitution was ratified 200 years earlier.
It had interpretive markers, a sturdy wooden sign with thick timbers soaring 10 feet high, and a bronze plaque on a stone pedestal.
In the nearby campground were picnic tables, fire pits and even a rustic swing set, all surrounded by trails and signs to the tree.
Big Pine was a big deal.
Now the tree is dead. The campground and some of the nearby trails have been closed since 2014. The plaque and sign are gone, leaving just a fence and a ruined pedestal.
The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest hasn’t yet figured out the fate of the tree, campground and trails. The campground is located in the heart of Briggs Valley, a 30-mile drive via Galice Road and Taylor Creek Road from Grants Pass.
Complicating the issue, another dozen large trees in the campground area are also dying and a hazard to fall.
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