Once record holding Red Pine tree loses its canopy in a windstorm at Itasca State Park
It still drew a crowd Saturday afternoon, even though most of its canopy blew off at the beginning of July. The red pine tree in Itasca State Park, Minn., still stands, but is missing much of its top branches. The tree tied with another in Waters...
It still drew a crowd Saturday afternoon, even though most of its canopy blew off at the beginning of July.
The red pine tree in Itasca State Park, Minn., still stands, but is missing much of its top branches. The tree tied with another in Watersmeet, Mich., for the largest red pine in the nation, making them co-champion red pines. The Itasca tree was over 120 feet tall and more than nine feet in diameter.
Storms in early July took the canopy off the tree, taking away its co-champion position, which is based on height, diameter and spread of canopy.
"It's still really huge," said Midge Boettger, New Richland, Minn., holding out her arms as though she were hugging the tree. "It's just not as tall as it used to be."
"It's very damaged," said Jan Meyer, Mankato, Minn., of the tree as she walked back down the nature trail.
The tree, more than 300 years old, towers above those around it, even without its canopy. Sightseers crane their necks to see the top.
"It's too bad it broke," said 12-year-old Brady Dunham, Akeley, Minn.
Dunham, was at the park Saturday with his mother and three siblings.
"Now, they lost their record," Misty McCollough said to Dunham and her other three children as they looked at a sign in front of the tree.
"I remember that it was just unbelievable," said Dave Triplett, Olivia, Minn., of the once-record breaking tree.
Triplett, his wife, Bonnie Triplett, and their friends, Bruce and Lyn Knoke, all came to Itasca Saturday from Olivia, Minn.
"It's sad," Lyn Knoke said as she looked up at the damaged tree. "You can't replace it."
"It's too bad really," Bruce Knoke said.
The tree looked very bare and was surrounded by its own branches lying on the ground.
Everett and Dean Parnell came all the way from Norfork, Ark., and visited the park Saturday.
"It's very sad," Everett Parnell said. "It's missing the whole top."
But there still is hope for another record-breaking red pine in Itasca State Park's vast wilderness sanctuary, which spans about 2,000 acres, according to Connie Cox, Itasca State Park naturalist.
Although sad, most of the tree's admirers seemed to agree with Vern Kruchten, Bemidji, Minn.
"It's nature though," he said of the former co-champion Itasca red pine. "Three-hundred years isn't a bad life."
Reach Gibson at (701) 787-6754, or email@example.com .