OAKHURST — The upcoming Yosemite Area Audubon Society (YAAS) meeting will feature a presentation on so-called “big tree hunting.”
On Thursday, Nov. 14, YAAS is offering a talk by Carl Casey on “big tree hunting” — an exciting and adventure-filled hobby open to all.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Oakhurst.
Casey is a local big-tree hunting enthusiast who has discovered or co-discovered nine national champion trees. Many of these champion trees are in the Mariposa/Yosemite area, some in remote wilderness areas and others in our own back yards.
Casey will present photographs of stunningly enormous, beautiful trees and share stories of his big-tree hunting adventures.
Casey became interested in the unusual hobby of big-tree hunting after reading the book “Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast” by Robert Van Pelt, published in 2001.
Van Pelt is a forest researcher based out of the University of Washington in Seattle and has been a big-tree hunter since the mid-1980’s. He is an expert on big trees of the West Coast, and his book featured not only champion trees but runners-up as well.
Van Pelt has visited Casey in Mariposa, and mentored him in big-tree hunting as well as tree measurement.
Since 1940, the conservation organization American Forests has maintained the official National Register of Champion Trees, which showcases the single largest-known specimen of native and naturalized trees across the United States.
To nominate a tree for consideration as champion, the nominator must include three measurements of the tree: circumference, height and crown spread (how far the branches extend out from the trunk).
Points are granted for each of the three measurements.
Photographs and the location of the tree must also be submitted.
If the point total for the tree is greater than any other tree of that species, the tree is officially crowned champion and a certificate is issued to the nominator.