Monday, December 4, 2023

World’s Largest Larch Tree, world record near Seeley Lake, Montana

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Seeley Lake, Montana, United States–Visitors to Montana’s Jim Girard Memorial Tamaracks Grove near Seeley Lake, Montana, United States, can see  a 1,000-years old tamarack known locally as Gus, a 163 feet high Larch Tree, with another 10-foot dead top, and a 273-inch circumference, which sets the world record for being the
World’s Largest Larch Tree, according to the WORLD RECORD ACADEMY.

“Trees grow big in the water-abundant Seeley – Swan valleys, but the granddaddy of them all is a 1,000-year-old western larch, known locally as Gus. A gentle, mile-long nature trail loops through the Girard Grove near the western shore of Seeley Lake,” the
Crown of the Continent says.

“There’s plenty of big trees in this 250-acre grove, averaging perhaps 600 years old, but Gus stands out as the champion. In fact, Gus appears to be the largest larch tree in the world among the 10 species found primarily in North America, Asia and Europe.

“Although I’ve been unable to document a definitive claim of the world’s largest larch tree, it stands to reason since 1) Gus has been documented as the largest western larch (Larix occidentalis) of the 10 species, and 2) Western larch is the largest of the 10 Larix species. (Larch trees also are known as tamarack.) Gus is 163 feet high, plus another 10-foot dead top. It has a crown diameter of 34 feet, and a circumference of 273 inches.”

“One of Seeley Lake’s oldest residents is one of quite high distinction. While their place in the community may not be known to all, it literally dwarf all others. Gus is not only the tallest tree in the state of Montana, but he is also the tallest western larch tree in the world. Standing at 163 feet, two feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, Gus is a subtle local legend,” the
Seeley Swan Pathfinder says.

“He isn’t prominently advertised, and for all intents and purposes he is just another in the many trees of the Jim Gerard Grove. But for those who venture into the forest near Camp Paxson and find Gus, the memory can be quite striking. Being in a 600-year-old grove keeps Gus from experiencing much personal change, but his stoic visage was updated by a special Boy Scout project in 2017.

“Evan Yonce of Missoula’s Boy Scout Troop 1911 built a wooden platform around Gus’ seven feet, three inch diameter (more than 22 feet around) as his Eagle Scout project. The platform is the only structure in the memorial grove and it allows the many people who visit Gus to stand close enough to hug his rough bark, which reportedly has been the tradition for quite some time.”

“Visitors to Montana’s Jim Girard Memorial Tamaracks Grove near Seeley Lake have differing reactions when viewing Gus for the first time. I was awed by the 163-foot height, craning my neck to see the very tippy top and then tilting back even further to view the additional 10 feet of dead tree top,” the
Montana Natural History Center

“A young woman paced backwards some 110 feet to accommodate Gus’s entire stature in her camera phone. One visitor wiped away tears of joy as she tried to wrap her arms around Gus’s 273-inch circumference. An Oregonian shared that she was not particularly impressed by Gus’s height as she was used to seeing the tall fir trees near Arcadia Beach State Park.

“Another visitor slowly circumnavigated Gus, fingering the large, corky, puzzle-like pieces of bark, layered some three to six inches thick, with rich colors ranging from black and gray to burnt umber and burnt sienna. A small child crouched to fit inside the fire-blackened hollow near the tree’s base, mimicking a Hobbit. Whatever the reaction, a visit to Gus is most certainly memorable.”

“Montana is a nature lover’s paradise, and our forests are second to none. All you have to do is walk through the Ross Creek Scenic Area to know how lucky we are in the tree department. But what most people don’t know is that Montana is home to the world’s largest larch tree — and it’s pretty awesome,” the
Only In Your State says.

“There are plenty of big trees in this 250-acre grove in Seeley Lake, but none are quite as enormous as Gus.

“Gus appears to be the largest larch tree in the world, and in fact, has been documented as the largest western larch. Gus is 163 feet high, plus another 10-foot dead top, and has a 273-inch circumference. The tree is thought to be about 1,000 years old. As you can see, the tree towers over these guests of Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch.”

“Girard Grove stretches over 60 acres. There are a couple trails to wander that offer a great way to see some of the larches. The mile of dirt path through the grove is flat, making this a great option for all skill levels. Along the trail, there are also some signs providing information on the history of the area, the trees, and fires. Walking through Girard Grove is a quick activity – we paired it with a hike to Holland Falls,” the
Compasses & Quests says.

“Gus sits within a five minute walk from the parking area. Though it has not been confirmed, it is thought that Gus is the largest larch in North America, and one of the largest the world. This tree measures 153 feet tall and over 7 feet in diameter at the base. Experts estimate that it’s over 1000 years old.

“While visitors who have seen Sequoia and Redwood forests and other gigantic trees of the western US may not be blown away by the larches in this grove, it’s still hard not to be impressed by their size and longevity. The yellow colors we experienced in October made it even more impressive. There is a wooden platform that wraps around the base of Gus so viewers can get up close to the thick bark and huge trunk.”

“In 1953, the U.S. Forest Service dedicated a 60-acre old growth grove of Western Larch, also known as tamaracks, near Seeley Lake, Montana as a memorial to James W. Girard. It was discovered in 1896 and is located along the Clearwater River. Girard had a fondness for the Western Larch and his grove is special, in that many of the trees are 600 years or older. The memorial grove was a cooperative effort of the Lolo National Forest, Intermountain Logging Conference, the Anaconda Lumber Department, the consulting firm of Mason, Bruce, and Girard, and retired Forest Service personnel,”
The National Museum of Forest Service History

“The champion tree is a 1,000-years old tamarack known locally as Gus. To be considered a champion tree, the tree must be nominated, measured and confirmed. Gus is the largest of its species in the world and is believed to have survived at least 40 wildfires over its lifetime. It measures 153 feet tall by 34 feet wide at its crown and is taller than the Statue of Liberty. Near the ground it is 22 feet 9 inches in circumference and 7 feet 3 inches in diameter.

“The Girard Grove is one of the finest remaining stands of Western Larch in the United States. Each year in October, Seeley Lake hosts its Tamarack Festival and Brewfest celebrating the annual turning of the tamarack and the old growth trees found in the memorial grove.”

“According to the Montana Natural History Center, a Western Larch tree known as Gus is the largest known in America. Standing 163 feet tall, the tree is taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York and has a circumference of over 22 feet. It hasn’t been confirmed, but many believe that Gus is the largest larch tree in the world. Experts have estimated that Gus is over 1,000 years old,” the
My 103.5 says.

“If you want to see the impressive tree for yourself, you’ll need to visit Jim Girard Memorial Tamaracks Grove near Seeley Lake. Gus was awarded the prestigious title “Largest Larix occidentalis (Western Larch) Tree in the United States” by the National Register of Champion Trees in 2020, and visitors from all over the world travel to Montana each year to witness the splendor of Gus. The best time to see it in all of its glory is during the fall when the colors begin to change.

“From MT-83 in Seeley Lake, head west onto Boy Scout Road. The road will loop around the lake and back to MT-83. You can reach the trailhead from both the north and south. If coming from the south side of the lake, look for the trailhead parking area a few miles down Boy Scout Road.”

“The biggest western larch in the nation stands over 153 feet tall in a grove near the town of Seeley Lake. Tree experts estimate it to be roughly 1,000 years old. Though other western larches are taller, the Seeley Lake giant, known locally as “Gus,” has the combination of height, circumference (22 feet), and crown spread (34 feet wide) to make it the top-scoring western larch (commonly called tamarack) in the United States,” the
Montana Outdoors says.

“WHERE:Gus grows in the scenic Jim Girard Memorial Grove of the Lolo National Forest along the shore of Seeley Lake on Boy Scout Road.

“WHEN: April through December

“BONUS: Visit in late October to see the golden needles of Gus and his fellow western larch.”

“There are few things in this world as glorious as Montana in the fall. The crispness in the air, the bugling wildlife, and the golden hues highlighting the hillsides and high peaks collide to form a season of beauty and bounty,” the
Montana Wildlife says.

“There are multiple species of trees that contribute to the warm glow of autumn colors in Montana, but few are as unique as larch trees. Larch trees, classified in the Larix genus and Pinaceae (Pine) family, are deciduous conifers that lose their needles in the fall. The Larix genus is divided into two groups: three North American species and seven Eurasian Species.

“Western Larch, Larix occidentalis, is the largest of the larch genus and grows up to 150 feet tall and can live over 700 years. The world’s largest recorded larch tree can be found near the western shore of Seeley lake, Montana; a 163 feet tall western larch revered locally as “Gus”. Other than size, western larch can also be identified by their three sided needles and cones connecting to the branch on short stalks. In comparison to alpine larch, this species has a much larger distribution across Montana and surrounding areas.”

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