Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Record Red Pine at Brighton State Park

Last spring during a trail walk, Neil Monteith, a forester with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, discovered a large red pine tree at Brighton State Park. After measuring the height, circumference, and diameter of the tree, it was revealed that the tree surpassed the current record for the largest red pine tree in Vermont.

The red pine trees at Brighton State Park are estimated to be between 75-90 years old and part of a natural red pine stand. Unlike human-planted stands, natural red pine stands are relatively rare in Vermont. The area where the record red pine was tree was found is part of a natural “Red Pine Forest” area, one of only 89 in the state.

According to the book Wetland, Woodland, Wildland by Eric Sorensen and Elizabeth Thompson, “Red pine…is especially well adapted to fire. Its bark is thick and resistant to burning. Red pine seeds germinate best in a mineral soil seedbed, so a burned ridgetop provides a good place for the species to get established.”  Bob Zaino, an ecologist with the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife, notes that the similar age of all of the trees found in the red pine stand suggests that the trees grew following a fire.

The record-setting red pine is in good health and measures 103 feet tall, with a circumference of 96 inches. Brighton State Park is free and open during the winter. With the deciduous leaves gone, it's a great time to visit the tree. Check out the map at left to locate the record red pine. If that fails, knock on Ranger Eric's door and if he's around, he will be happy to help. 

To learn more about Brighton State Park, visit: http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/brighton.htm

For more information about Big Trees in Vermont, visit: http://bit.ly/1lFHjfH

Thanks to Neil Monteith, Bob Zaino, and Brighton State Park Ranger Eric Bouchard for providing information and photos. 


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