Sequoia National Park – Land of the Giants


Sequoia National Park in California is home to the Giant Sequoia tree (they only grow naturally on the western slope of Sierra Nevada range). While not as tall as the coastal Giant Redwood the Giant Sequoia has a massive tree trunk, giving them more volume and they are generally much older (the Redwoods are up to 279.1 feet in height compared to the Sequoia which are up to 311 feet). Entering the Giant Forest and the home of the Giant Sequoia trees you will encounter trees that are up to 3,200 years old (generally the coastal Giant Redwood trees are at most 2,000 years old). Four of the worlds five largest trees can be found in the Giant Forest.
Giant Forest Sequioia National Park
Entering the land of giants
The prestige of these trees is highlighted by the fact that Sequoia National Park is the second oldest in the United States. It was created on September 25th, 1890 (Yellowstone National Park is the oldest being created on March 1st, 1872).
Crescent Meadow Sequoia National Park
Crescent Meadow
The Sentinel is a 2,200 year-old Giant Sequoia tree towering high at 257 feet / 78 metres tall with a volume of 27,900 cubic feet / 790 cubic metres. Despite its size it is still regarded as an average size in this land of the giants!
The Sentinel at the Giant Forest Museum Sequioa National Park CA
The Sentinel at the Giant Forest Museum
The Sentinel at the Giant Forest Museum Sequioa National Park CA
Note the huge fire scar on the trunk of The Sentinel and also the size of the tree compared to the woman walking past it

The General Sherman Tree found in the Giant Forest is the largest tree in the world by volume (slightly over 52,500 cubic feet / 1,486.6 cubic meters – apparently that’s enough to build 120 average sized homes!). It’s not exactly small height wise either at 275 feet / 83 metres tall! The top of the tree is actually dead so it will not grow taller but the trunk will continue to grow wider. At the moment the diameter of the trunk at its base is 36.5 feet / 11.1 metres and 109 feet / 33 metres in circumference! Not bad for a 2,200 year-old!

General Sherman Tree Sequoia NP CA
The first view from behind the General Sherman Tree then up closer
General Sherman Tree worlds largest Sequoia NP CA
The General Sherman is the worlds largest tree by volume
General Sherman Tree Sequoia NP CA
The General Sherman is one mighty tree!

Famed conservationist John Muir (April 21st, 1838 – December 24th, 1914) helped preserve Sequoia National Park and many other wilderness areas within the United States. When discussing logging of the Giant Sequoia trees he said: “As well sell the rain clouds and the snow and the rivers to be cut up and carried away, if that were possible.” This statement really sums up the folly of destroying such ancient wonders.

The General Sherman Tree is the crown jewel in the Giant Forest Sequioa NP CA
The General Sherman Tree is the crown jewel in the Giant Forest

The amazing things with these mighty Giant Sequoia trees is that despite fire (you can see a big fire scar on many of the big trees), lightning, earthquakes, drought, logging prior to the National Park days etc. they soldier on. John Muir wrote: “Most of the Sierra trees die of disease, fungi etc. but nothing hurts the big tree. Barring accidents, it seems to be immortal.” Actually the tree bark can be up to 31 inches / 78.7 cm thick, it is almost like natural armour to protect them and chemicals in the wood and bark help protect them from insects and fungi (the biggest risk to the tree is strong winds and falling over as they are so heavy and a have a shallow root system). Mother Nature at her finest!

 

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