Exploring West Coast Forest

Largest & Champion Sitka Spruce ~ Oregon

This page is about some large Sitka Spruce | Picea sitchensis

Previous Oregon champ
Klootchy Creek Giant

The Cape Meares Spruce
near Tillamook

OCTOPUS SPRUCE
of Cape Meares explained

 

Discovery of Falcon's Tower
80 feet taller than alleged champ

 

Copyright 2011 by Mario D. Vaden ..... See Tallest Redwoods for Circle Solver to Convert Diameter / Circumference



Several unique Sitka Spruce are shown below. Most are among the largest known in the state of Oregon..

To begin, photos of Cape Meares Spruce which in 2008 replaced Klootchy Creek Spruce for largest Sitka Spruce in Oregon. Falcon's Tower should be a co-champion or the actual champion, but the team included burls on the lower trunk of Cape Meares Spruce which inflated its diameter points. Click thumbnails pics to enlarge with captions.

 

Standing on the south side of the Cape Meares Spruce Large limb on the south side of the Cape Meares Sitka Spruce Big burl on the west side of the Cape Meares Spruce Standing on the north side of the Cape Meares Spruce Tall view of the Cape Meares Sitka Spruce bole Small trunk of Hemlock or other species pinched by Cape Meares Spruce burl

 

The Klootchy Creek Giant Spruce is shown below in 2004 while it was still alive. It looked even more impressive before the deck was built. Located about 6 miles east of Seaside, Oregon.

 

Photo of the Klootchy Creek Giant and Largest Spruce in Oregon before 2005

 

The Klootchy Creek Spruce broke in a storm, December 2, 2007. It was 204 feet tall, 16.7 feet diameter dbh, and over 850 points on the National Champion list.

The wide base of Sitka Spruce that used to be largest in Oregon Cut trunk end of the previous largest Sitka Spruce in Oregon

It was a co-champion with the Washington Sitka Spruce at Quinault.

Even the remnants are interesting. Already, native plants are slowly engulfing the sections of trunk.

Read more about the Klootchy Creek Giant below.

 

Cape Meares Spruce

Huge Sitka Spruce in Oswald West State Park of Oregon

New Oregon Champion Spruce Replacement (so they say)

After the collapse of the Klootchy Creek Spruce, another Sitka near Tillamook and Cape Meares, became the new Oregon "official" champ with 743 points (2011), though only 144 feet tall.

It was measured by Ascending the Giants.

The Cape Meares Spruce is down a short trail at Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint and National Wildlife Refuge.

The trunk was published at 15.27 ft. diameter or 576 inches circumference. But the tape was wrapped around a protruding burl, inflating its points.

In the photo to the right, you can see the tape being wrapped around the large burl.

Crown spread was said to be 93 ft. But the method I saw used for crown spread was crude. The team wandered the ground staring up trying to eyeball whether they were under the branch tips.

I tested the wandering method of ATG and found it can be off by 15 feet easily. My test compared wandering to a laser.

 

Falcon's Tower ~ unofficial co-champion

Or, the real Oregon Sitka champ

Discovery: The photo below is the Falcon's Tower Sitka Spruce in Oswald West State Park. I discovered Falcon's Tower May 22, 2011, on the heels of our Jan. / Mar. 2011 world's Tallest Pine & Tallest Hemlock discoveries. This Spruce was measured by the Oregon Registry: their results are included in Falcon't Tower Part II farther down.

Oregon and Nations largest Sitka Spruce at one time

Falcon's Tower spruce in this photo was estimated at 706 points in May, 2011. July, 2011, I returned with help for a 2nd preliminary measure of:

751 points

 

Height - 224 ft.

Circumference - 504 in.

1/4 Crown Estimate - 22 ft.

Total Points - 750

I also located Falcon's Tower on Google Earth, and the scale across both directions of its crown showed that a 1/4 crown spread of 22 ft. was acceptable.

The circumference was 504 inches and the width or diameter was13.51 ft. DBH. The 224 ft. towers over the stubby 144 ft. of Cape Meares Spruce.

There is about 10 feet elevation difference between the high and low sides of the trunk. Its on a steep hillside. The location is undisclosed for now, and it is difficult to reach safely. I nominated Falcon's Tower to the Oregon Registry, August 2011.

Comparison of this Spruce to the Cape Meares Sitka was supposed to be based American Forest system. But the team that measured for American Forests failed to measure the diameter properly. The diameter should have been measured about 4 ft. lower than where the man in the image is holding the tape. There was a single large root, the one he is kneeling on, and there is an easy way to compensate for that root blocking a tape wrap lower down. I know this, because I measured the circumference twice at the proper level, bypassing the root.

If this spruce is ever remeasured for champion status, Ascenidng the Giants should be disqualified. It was almost mind-boggling how they refused to tackle such an easy task that would not inflate the numbers.

Click these for a few extra views. Captions should be underneath.

 

Tall Spruce in Oswald West State Park Measuring Sitka Spruce looking south Measuring Sitka Spruce looking east Showing size of Oregon Coast Spruce Falcon's Tower Sitka Spruce Measuring trunk diameter dbh of Sitka Spruce Measuring upper diameter for largest Sitka Spruce comparison Old Sitka Spruce with moss and extra trunk

 

 

Falcon's Tower Part II

Falcon's Tower was measured September 25, 2011, by the Oregon Registry volunteers, aka Ascending the Giants.

They came up with 219 ft. using a tape drop. That is 5 feet shy of my preliminary. Considering that they measured diameter about 5 ft. too high, I suspect they may also have omitted part of the lowest reach of the trunk. The crown spread was guessed at, using the eyeballing method.

When measured properly, Falcon's Tower should be in the 745 point to 752 point range, making it an Oregon co-champion Sitka Spruce, or even champion.

I need to disregard the final points by Ascending the Giant because I witnessed and photographed the trunk wrap about 5 feet too high with no effort whatsoever to measure at the proper level for average diameter dbh

In the end, they did not report back with a final point tally, but said they did not come up with enough points to tie the Cape Meares Spruce which they measured the next day.

As written above, when they measured the Cape Meares Spruce, they wrapped the tape around a big burl that inflated its size and points. And Falcon's Tower diameter points were chopped-down by wrapping too high where the trunk diameter was narrower.

The manner in which Ascending the Giants tried to dodge measuring diameter accurately with Falcon's Tower, seemed so odd and peculiar, that I suspect they favored the stocky Cape Meares spruce and looked for an excuse. Their excuse being a big root in the way of a tape wrap.

But as I explained above, it was an easy obstacle to bridge. I bridge the root using two plumb lines. It was barely a matter of a few minutes.



Octopus Spruce of Cape Meares Explained

Change of pace here for a moment ...

The multiple trunk Octopus Sitka Spruce at Cape Meares

Enlarge the photo to the right, to see the Octopus Spruce which grows in the same area as Cape Meares Spruce.

The sign for it says that the form is a mystery people have debated about. Almost certainly we cannot know for a fact what happened ... but chances are about 90% that it resulted from a simple occurance. When the Spruce was young with a trunk not much bigger than 14" to 20" in diameter, a storm snapped the trunk, or another trunk nearby fell and broke it, just above a whorl of limbs.

The extended length of the curved trunks (up to 16 feet outward) from the center, connote that it was not just 10 feet tall with 1 inch diameter branches. The branches would have to have been about 2 to 4 inches in diameter, and in relatively good health with foliage. And the branches would need to have already been about 10 to 14 feet long when the breakage occured. This also suggests something else ... that this Spruce was not in a thick grove ... probably more in the open, maybe with just a few others around it. Otherwise, in thick groves, the lower limbs die and decay fairly quickly: evident by the grove you will walk through to see this one. Just look at all the understory stubs in the shady grove.

There are quite a few giant Sitka Spruce and Western Redcedar in Oswald West State Park.