Defiance Park, IL and Big Oak Tree SP, Missouri
  Mar 23, 2006 16:29 PST 
Lee, Ed, Don, et al,

    Well, here Monica and I are on the 16th floor of the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock AR. Although I am excited about the 7th old growth conference, and enjoy being here with Monica, I loathe cities with a passion. They make me feel trapped. I would much rather we would have had the conference in some out of the way spot in the Ozarks. We drove through beautiful country in the Boston Mountains.

     However, despite my displeasure with Little Rock, I'm unsure if I'd want to be experiencing 25-30 inches of snow and sub-zero temperatures. The redbuds are blooming and spring is in the air although Fayetteville had snow last night where we stayed. It was only the second snow of the season. We stayed with Dave Stahle last night and the "Lord of the Rings" was in rare form. What a great person!

     On the way to Arkansas, Monica and I stopped first at Defiance Park in Illinois and then at Big Oak Tree State Park in Missouri. It was cold and windy, but I succeeded in measuring 17 trees. The results are presented in the order of the individual measurements.

Defiance Park, IL Mar 21:

     Species            Height       Circumference

     Cottonwood     130.1'            13.4'
     Cottonwood     113.0'            10.7'
     Cottonwood     117.2'            10.7'

Big Oak Tree SP, MO Mar 21:

     Species            Height       Circumference

    Bur Oak            132.7'        17.6'
    Cottonwood      130.1'        11.2'
    Cottonwood      140.3'        10.2' (eastern record)
    Cottonwood      132.5'        10.0'
    Cottonwood      135.0'        13.2'
    Pumpkin ash      110.7'        16.0'
    Cottonwood      136.4'        10.0'
    Bald cypress      111.9'        25.7'
    Black willow        95.8'
    Cottonwood      127.0'        10.2'
    Bur oak             125.8'        14.7'
    Hackberry         117.1'          8.3'
    Shagbark H.      112.3'          7.3'
    Persimmon         114.8'

    The cottonwoods are incredible in Big Oak Tree SP. They aren't the biggest trees in circumference, but they are the tallest. The one giant cypress was awesome. It was no cheater.

    Monica and I visited a park near Little Rock and I'll report on that in my next e-mail. We want to find Will Blozan and Jess Riddle.

Big Oak Tree State Park and Arkansas   Robert Leverett
  Mar 28, 2006 08:06 PST 

Mike and Jess,

  The Seventh OG Forest Conference in Arkansas was a big success and
I'll report on it in due course. But one quick comment. Don Bragg and
Dave Stahle did one heck of a job putting it together. I was honored to
be the M.C. On the down side, I didn't have much time to measure trees -
about 30 altogether, but I did measure some dandies. Big Oak Tree SP in
the boot heel of Missouri is a gem. The 132.7-foot tall, 17.6-foot
circumference bur oak, the 140.3-foot tall, 10.8-ffot circumference
eastern cottonwood, and the 111.9-foot tall, 25.7-foot circumference
bald cypresses, and the 117.1-foot tall hackberry (I think) were the
individual standouts. However, one needs a full day to do justice to Big
Oak Tree.

   As usual, the champion trees (with plaques) were significantly
mismeasured. The pumpkin ash was listed as 133 feet tall. It was 110.7
feet. No small error there. The bur oak champ was listed at 142 feet
tall. At 133.7, it wasn't off so much. The leaning champion persimmon
tree was listed at 142 feet in height, but it was 114.8 feet tall. That
is a 27.2-foot error.

Combining my measurements with those of Don Bragg from his earlier
trip, Big Oak Tree gets a Rucker index of 123.27.