Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Big Tree on Texas Gulf Coast

RVers Chuck Arbuckle and Jimmy Smith admire The Big Tree, 2011. (Julianne G. Crane)

While I have seen "bigger" trees, this Coastal Live Oak is pretty darn impressive. It is estimated to be more than 1,000 years old, with a circumference of 35 feet and a crown spread of 90 feet. It stands about 44 feet tall.

RV Jimmy Smith on bicycle, 2015 (Julianne G. Crane)
Known locally as "The Big Tree," it is part of Goose Island State Park in Lamar, Texas, a few miles northeast of Fulton / Rockport on the Texas Gulf Coast.

This tree was named the State Champion Coastal Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) in 1969, and is one of the largest in the nation.

Each winter we spend time on the Gulf Coast, we visit the tree as part of bicycling around Goose Island State Park. On two different bicycle excursions we also saw the endangered whooping cranes that feed on berries and blue crabs found in the coastal wetlands around Goose Island State Park. It is said other wildlife include white-tailed deer, raccoons, armadillos, foxes, squirrels, cottontail rabbits and more than 300 varieties of birds.

Direction: About 10 miles northeast of Fulton/Rockport on Highway 35. Just north of the Copano Bay bridge, turn east to Goose Bay State Park. The first right will be Park Road 13. This connects with Lamar Beach Road that takes you to the tree. Depending on the time of day or the season, you may encounter deer on the narrow, densely shaded and flowered road. Free.

-- Julianne G. Crane

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