The big tree near Trout Lake was one of the largest living ponderosa pines in the world.

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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