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A variety of views and natural settings attract visitors to Olympic National Park in Washington.

Green Giants Break Records in Olympic National Park

February 24, 2014

It's no surprise five national champion trees have found a home in Washington's Olympic National Park.

Their sheer size, shape, and species qualify them for the running, but it's their determination to survive even the least likely environments that impress the fans of big trees.     

Its name set aside, Olympic National Park's abundant natural resources, moderate weather patterns and sufficient rainfall provide the most ideal conditions for big trees to reach enormous heights and expansive canopies. 

Olympic National Park sunset
The Pacific Ocean coast

From mountain tops reaching so high in the sky to the meadows of wildflowers lining the earth below, a variety of natural scenes catch the eyes of visitors to Olympic National Park. Several trails and viewing points allow explorers to observe some of the largest remaining areas of ancient forests in the U.S. The park even protects 73 miles of wild Pacific Ocean coast, where tidepools, sandy beaches, and rocky cliffs exist.

But what lies within also includes the striking Quinault Rainforest, which bears one of the park's national champion trees--the Sitka spruce.

Robert Van Pelt nominated Olympic National Park's national champion Sitka spruce, which has appeared on American Forests' National Register of Big Trees since 1987. At a whopping 668 inches in circumference and 191 feet in height, this gigantic Sitka spruce is hard to miss. Its 96-foot wide spread casts a heavy shadow upon the ground below, where countless hikers and tourists have stopped in their tracks and looked up in awe.

national champion Sitka spruce
The National Champion Sitka spruce (pictured) measures 668 feet in circumference and 191 feet in height. Photography by Jerry Black.

Abundant resources define Quinault Rainforest's enticement--it's the large variety of sea, land and plant foods, for example, that encouraged Native Americans to settle in the northern hemisphere's only temperate rain forest many years ago. And now, Quinault Rainforest's abundance has adopted a new meaning as several big trees have rooted in the forest's rich soil to grow and inspire others at such great heights.


More than 780 national champion trees exist on American Forests' current National Register of Big Trees--now that's TREEmendous! Look out for each select species we'll highlight on our blog throughout the year in honor of Davey's 25th anniversary of sponsoring the program.

If you're interested in contributing to the collection of recognized green giants across the country, nominate a Big Tree yourself! All you need is measuring tape and a ruler--and an eye for some of the most fascinating arboreal specimens around.

Contact your local Davey arborist for a FREE inspection!

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