Scenic USA - California

Sequoia Giants - General Sherman

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General Sherman Tree - Sequoia National Park, California

Photos by Josh McNair
Josh's California throught My Lens

     Sequoias are one of the largest species of all plants and animals on Earth, with some of the giants thirty times larger than a blue whale. Among a stand of more than 8000 sequoias, the world's five largest trees are the major attraction of California's Sequoia National Park, with three located in the Giant Forest section of the park. The 2500 year old General Sherman lays claim to be the largest tree, weighing over 6000 tons (that's 12 million pounds if you don't have a calculator handy). Reaching 275 feet in height, the General Sherman is not the tallest tree, but it's the most massive, with a diameter of 36 feet, a circumference at the base of 102 feet and a record setting volume of 52,500 cubic feet. A limb fell from the tree in 1975, measuring 140 feet long and six feet in diameter. The branch alone was larger than any tree east of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains.
     At one time exaggerated claims named the sequoias as the world's oldest trees, living 3300 years, but it's now known that it falls short of the record holder. The amazing life span of Bristlecone Pine tops 4000 years. General Sherman Tree - Sequoia National Park, California Able to survive adverse growing conditions, the slow growing bristlecone survives frigid temperatures, a short growing season and extreme winds, and fails to add a growth ring some years.
     Sequoia National Park's green Giant Forest Route connects the Lodgepole Visitor Center and Giant Forest Museum. Cutting down on traffic congestion, summertime shuttle service departs about every 15 minutes from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, providing access to the General Sherman Tree. Wheelchair accessible, a trail descends to General Sherman and loops around the giant tree, providing views from every angle. In the early 1900s a wagon road passed by the General Sherman Tree, revealing its grandeur to tourists for the first time. In 2005, a parking lot near the tree was removed, restoring the forest land to a more natural setting. The giant sequoias have no tap root and spread their roots out over 150 feet to support the massive trunk. The park's million yearly visitors are reminded to stay on the pathways to keep impact to the tree's root system at a minimum.

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