Copyright 2011 - Mario D. Vaden.
Early June, 2011, a new 2nd tallest known Douglas Fir was discovered on an expedition in Coos County, Oregon, west of Roseburg. It is actually the world's tallest live-top Doug Fir, because the Williams, or Doerner Fir, has 15 to 50 feet of dying or dead top seen in 2011 photos of the upper canopy.
Four of us (Chris Atkins, Mike Hanuschik, Michael Taylor, Mario Vaden), found the tall 322.5' Pseudotsuga menziesii, June 2nd, the day after remeasuring a tallest Ponderosa west of Grants Pass. And Taylor deserves extra credit for handling the planning and logistics on this one, too.
It is remarkable where these tallest Doug firs can grow. The hillside slope was the steepest I recall climbing for a measurement, in at least 2 years. The angle seen in the image is mild compared to 20 feet below it.
Actually, we found 3 Douglas Fir of significance that June 2, 2011. The 322.8' one, another at 317.53', and another at 309.3' The tallest was a preliminary measurement at 322.5, but Chris Atkins joined us later in June with his Impulse Laser and tripods, finally getting the 322.8' height.
The 317.53' Doug fir became a new 4th tallest known of that species.
Because the Doerner Fir has a dead top that is slowly disintegrating, this new find could become the world's tallest Pseudotsuga someday. The Doerner Pseudotsuga was discovered in 1991 in the same general forest area by a man named Hank Williams.
What are the chances .... but the morning of the day we found the new 2nd tallest Doug Fir .... who did we pass along the way? Mr. Williams. After a few handshakes and chat, we continued west into the nearby hills.
In the Douglas Fir trunk photograph above: Michael Taylor far left, Chris Atkins, and Mike Hanuschik right.
The photo to the right is a zoom shot through the window in the canopy over us, looking across the valley. The sky and weather was rather nice that day.
Regarding the Doerner Fir, references to the previous name are all over the board for spelling, with Brummet Fir, Brummitt Fir and Brummett Fir. Apparently the name was Brummit Fir after Brummit Creek.
There was also a 322' Douglas Fir reported in another Oregon forest to the north, according to a 1989 news article. Not sure what equipment was used to measure it. But the lack of scuttlebut about it among enthusiasts and researchers connotes that the height may have been inflated.
There is a difference exploring around the old Douglas Firs compared to Coast Redwoods. In the Doug Fir area, the soil can be more slick on steep slopes after rain. But on moderate slopes, it is not too hard to go 1/2 mile in a 1/2 hour. In the redwoods, it can take 1 to 2 hours to cover 1/2 mile.
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:
322.8 ft. / 8.0' Coos County / BLM
317.6 ft. / 7.1' Coos County / BLM Alder Creek
317.5 ft. / 10.1' Coos County / BLM Tioga Creek
317.2 ft. / 6.7' Coos County / BLM North Fork Cherry Creek
314.0 ft. / 9.9' Coos County / BLM Tioga Creek
310.0 ft. / 8.1' Coos County / BLM Susan Creek
309.3 ft. / 9.0' Coos County / BLM Park Creek
307.0 ft. / 7.0' Coos County / BLM Tioga Creek
306.0 ft. / 7.2' Coos Counnty / BLM Park Creek
303.0 ft. / N/A Coos County / BLM Tioga Creek
302.0 ft. / N/A Coos County / BLM Park Creek