Exploring West Coast Forest

Falcon's Tower ~ Oregon Champion Sitka Spruce

About the Largest Sitka Spruce | Picea sitchensis

Previous Oregon champ
Klootchy Creek Giant

The Cape Meares Spruce
near Tillamook - a pseudo-champion

of Cape Meares explained


Discovery of Falcon's Tower spruce
80 feet taller than Cape Meares


Copyright 2011 - 2115 by Mario D. Vaden ..... See Tallest Redwoods for Circle Solver to Convert Diameter / Circumference

Arborists Portland Tree Services

Falcon's Tower is the the actual champion Sitka Spruce of Oregon, based on rules of a point system commonly accepted across the USA.

See notes below for Cape Meare's and Falcon's Tower spruces. I decided to independently disqualify the measurement by Ascending the Giants performed on behalf of American Forests. My measurements are the only ones that were based on diameter at 4.5 feet above average grade for both spruce. Facts are facts, and the photo documentation here removes debate. They did not complete the task.

Recently, Chris Atkins and I discovered a Coast Redwood in northern California, close to 1298 points, surpassing the existing AF champion. Much due to this spruce matter, we agreed not to nominate that redwood to American Forests. The measuring was done by myself, Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. I am also putting the world record Hemlock nomination on the back burner. Personally, I have or share several world records. See menu for more.

Regarding Oregon, try to fine another verifier besides Ascending the Giants for your discoveries. Even if you have to contact American Forests and leverage help. We read and heard that Ascending the Gants leaked a location of another discovery to a news story writer: The writer (Terri Richards) conveyed to me that he prefers to know locations to write stories. This kind of writer and climbing team combo seem a bad recipe if you need to keep locations protected.

If I were American Forests, I'd remove them from any cadre for at least one year.

These happenings were shared with others I network and explore with, including Michael Taylor, Dr. Steve Sillett, Zane Moore, John Montague. Also American Forests and a few in Eastern Native Tree Society / ENTS.



Several unique Sitka Spruce are shown below, among the largest known in Oregon. To begin, photos of Cape Meares Spruce. In 2008 it replaced Klootchy Creek Spruce for largest Sitka Spruce in Oregon. Falcon's Tower was found more recently.

Click thumbnails pics to enlarge with.


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 below in 2004 while it was still alive. 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.

Read more about the Klootchy Creek Giant below.



Cape Meares Spruce ~ pseudo-champion

Huge Sitka Spruce in Oswald West State Park of Oregon

Oregon Champion Spruce replacement .... the pseudo-champion

After the collapse of the Klootchy Creek Spruce, another Sitka near Tillamook and Cape Meares, became the new Oregon champ, by default, with 743 points (2011), though only 144 feet tall. That was a logical substitute back then.

It was measured by Ascending the Giants.

The Cape Meares Spruce is 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 their wandering eye method to a laser's precision.

Had someone like Michael Taylor or Chris Atkins (Nor Cal experts) measured this, most likely they would have figured a way to erase some burl from the equation. I worked with Taylor and Atkins many times, and they don't like to factor-in wishy-washy bulk uneccessarily.


Falcon's Tower ~ Actual Largest

Discovery: The photo below is Falcon's Tower Sitka Spruce, north of Manzanita. I discovered Falcon's Tower May 22, 2011, on the heels of our world's Tallest Pine & Tallest Hemlock discoveries. This Spruce was measured by the Oregon Registry. Their results are included after my measurements. Even though the team wrapped a burl on the other Cape Meares spruce inflating its points, Falcon's Tower still exceeds it.

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 assistance for a second measurement:

750 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 showed that a 1/4 crown spread of 22 ft. was acceptable for 22 points

The circumference was 504 inches and the width or diameter was 13.51 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. 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 failed to measure the diameter accurately. The diameter should have been measured about 5 ft. lower than where the man in the image is holding the tape. There was a large root that he is kneeling on, and there was an easy way to bridge the root for a measure. Instead of measuring at 4.5 ft. above average grade, the right way, Ascending the Giants measured about 9 ft. above average grade. In other words, the spruce was not measured.

It wasn't that the other ATG team couldn't have done it. It was apparent they lacked the desire to take care of an easy few minute task.

After working with Michael Taylor, Dr. Steve Sillett and Chris Atkins in the California redwoods, and seeing how they complete tasks, has me questioning Ascending the Giants methods ... and motives.

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 (mis-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 variance from my number. Considering that they measured diameter about 4.5 ft. too high, I suspect they also omitted part of trunk height. The crown spread they guessed at, using the eyeballing method like they did for the Cape Meares spruce.

In the end, they did not report back with final numbers, but said they did not come up with enough points. When they measured Cape Meares spruce, they wrapped the tape around a big burl that inflated size and points. Compare that to Falcon's Tower diameter points being diminished by wrapping too high where trunk diameter narrrows. It is worth sharing that Ascending the Giants said the 1/4 crown points "are not as important" as height and circumference". That seemed odd because all points should have equal importance.

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.