In 2015, I added a group of pages on legendary men and explorers of the coast redwood forest. Michael Taylor is one of the few. Yes, we can say coast redwoods are more legendary. But the research of Sillett and the explorations of Michael Taylor and Chris Atkins fueled an awareness that made redwoods even more legendary.
Michael W. Taylor (born April 25, 1966, in Los Angeles) is a leading discoverer of champion and tallest trees, most notably Coast Redwoods. In 2006, Michael co-discovered a new tallest known tree in the world , a coast redwood called "Hyperion". He also discovered Helios and Icarus, the 2nd and 3rd tallest. His expedition partner was Chris Atkins.
National Geographic made a video about the discovery and measuring of Hyperion. The redwood discovery made several news headlines.
Taylor discovered at least 50 coast redwoods over 350 feet tall and co-discovered approximately 100 more over 350 feet with Chris Atkins and Dr. Stephen Sillett who is the first holder of the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology at Humboldt State University.
Taylor and Sillett collaborated, found and measured remarkable previously unknown redwoods. Their discoveries fueled research and public interest in coast redwoods, which are now a World Heritage Site.
In the photograph to the right, Michael is using a laser range finder and doing a preliminary measurement in the Lost Man Creek section of Redwood National Park. The same general area where we found the redwood Dog Soldier.
Michael is a main character of the non-fiction book (2007) The Wild Trees. written by best-selling author Richard Preston.
The narrative includes how Taylor began exploring for tall trees, measuring them and later networking with Pacific coast forest researchers. Taylor's background and explorations account for much of the book's success.
Taylor co-discovered what was said to be the largest known coast redwood named Lost Monarch in the Grove of Titans, as well as Iluvatar in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Technically, Iluvatar was really the largest, but either way, Michael was part of both discoveries.
Michael also discovered or co-discovered the famous Sir Issac Newton, Atlas Tree, Terex Titan, Howland Hill Giant, plus the Mendocino Tree which was the world's tallest for a while too.
Taylor attended Humboldt State University from 1984-87 studying forestry, attended San Diego State University in 1988. He returned to Humboldt State University 1992-94, completing a bachelor of science in environmental engineering.
His discoveries are too numerous to list here. Preston wrote quite a few things about Michael, his background and family in that book. Check my book review at that previous link and maybe order a copy to learn more about redwoods and Michael's adventures.
Michael also continued to pioneer new means of discovery including the use of drones equipped with GPS, cameras and videos. It not just what he was using, but what he did with it.
In addition to his reputation for a strong intellect, Michael is known for his giving personality.
The photo below shows Michael Taylor measuring a new largest known Ponderosa pine for the state Oregon. The same area where we found a new world's tallest pine January 3, 2011.