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News Release
The Big Tree Trail is great to visit anytime of the year, but in the fall many of the trees are in full color and make for an especially scenic walk.
The Big Tree Trail is great to visit anytime of the year, but in the fall many of the trees are in full color and make for an especially scenic walk.
ODF's Northrup Creek Big Tree Trail inducted into the Oregon Heritage Tree Program (Photo) - 04/18/24

ASTORIA, Ore. — A giant 208-foot tall and estimated 200-year-old grand fir tree in Clatsop State Forest was inducted into the Oregon Heritage Tree Program in a ceremony April 12. The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and the Travel Information Council and its volunteer Oregon Heritage Tree Committee held the ceremony at the base of the tree which is part of ODF’s Northrup Creek Horse Camp Big Tree Trail at Northrup Creek Horse Camp. The grand fir became the 84th Oregon Heritage Tree. 

“A heritage designation recognizes trees with statewide or national significance,” said Craig Leech, Chair of the Oregon Heritage Tree Committee. “The Oregon Heritage Tree Program is the first state-sponsored heritage tree program in the country. It was established in 1995 to increase public awareness of the important contribution of trees to Oregon’s history and the significant role they play in the quality of our daily lives.”

ODF created the Big Tree Trail in 2012 when they identified numerous large conifer and deciduous trees near one another.

“Inducting the Big Tree Trail as an Oregon Heritage Tree helps honor this special trail of trees that are believed to be among the top five largest in the state,” said Dan Goody, ODF’s District Forester for the Astoria District. “Visiting an Oregon Heritage Tree is a chance to learn localized Oregon history and honor the vital role Oregon’s forests plays in our lives. In addition to viewing a sample of exceptional trees, The Big Tree Trail’s connection to the creation of Oregon’s modern forestry program makes it particularly notable.”

The Northrup Creek Horse Camp Big Tree Trail is located inside what used to be The Northrup Creek Grazing Experiment. The Experiment started in 1936 to study the seeding, fertilizing, grazing, and management of logged-off and burned-over timberlands and the effects of grazing on reforestation. The goal was to make burnt-up land profitable again. The project was overseen by the John Jacob Astor Experiment Station outside of Astoria and continued until the early 1950s. 

The Experiment ultimately “failed” as it determined grazing was not the solution for burned over timber lands. However, in 1939 Governor Charles Sprague gave a stump speech in the area at the time he was actively promoting the State Forest Acquisition Act. The legislation included conservation requirements for loggers to re-seed the forest by leaving seed trees and reforestation efforts for burned areas, particularly those affected by the repeated Tillamook burns of 1933, 1939, and 1945.

Former Clatsop County Judge Guy Boyington, one of the original framers of the state forest arrangement, envisioned that the foreclosed lands could be made productive if forest land management was available. Clatsop County became the first county to participate. 

You can visit the Big Tree Trail inside the Northrup Creek Horse Camp, located between Jewell and Birkenfeld four miles north of Highway 202. The trail is just under one mile and is open year-round for hiking. Hikers must start at the gate during the seasonal closure of the camp, which adds two miles. The horse camp will open May 17. The address is 87644 Northrup Creek Road, Clatskanie, Oregon. 

For more information regarding the Heritage Tree program visit www.oregontic.com/oregon-heritage-trees

For more information on recreation opportunities in Oregon’s state forests visit Oregon Department of Forestry : Recreation : Recreation : State of Oregon


 

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