Posted by: Derek Watterson | Comments Off on About that tree
About that tree
ABOUT THAT TREE IN OUR LOGO..AND WHY WE CHOSE IT
It’s called a bristlecone pine. The tree itself—long-lived, resilient, adaptable—is beautiful in form and character. Great Basin Bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva), which can be found in the mountain ranges of Eastern Nevada, are the oldest non-clonal trees on earth. At lower elevations, the bristlecones grow more upright and are covered with green foliage. Above the timberline, high winds, drought, extreme cold, and short growing seasons slow the growth of the trees and contort them into twisted, gnarly forms covered with small amounts of long-lived foliage. The wood becomes dense and resistant to pests, rot, and erosion. Low foliage reduces the risk of fire. The oldest trees are found where the conditions are the most demanding.
Nevada’s oldest bristlecone was believed to be a tree named “Prometheus.” It grew near Wheeler Peak and was estimated to be 4,900 years old when a glaciologist, in an effort to determine the age of the tree, obtained permission from the U.S. Forest Service to cut down the tree. Counting the rings of the tree revealed that Prometheus had 4,862 growth rings. All that remains of the magnificent tree is its stump.
BRIAN’S INVOLVEMENT WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GREAT BASIN NATIONAL PARK
President Reagan signed the Great Basin National Park Act of 1986 and launched Nevada’s first national park. In 1998, a group of dedicated Nevadans joined together to create an advocacy and fundraising group to support the park. The remarkable chairwoman of the new Great Basin National Park Foundation asked Brian to help. Under her energetic leadership, the park’s visitors’ center was built, a new bridge was installed over Baker Creek, and an oral history program was started to capture the memories of Great Basin residents. The Foundation was instrumental in the building of the first research-grade astronomical observatory ever built in a U.S. national park.
We include the bristlecone pine in our logo to honor those who worked to establish this park and those who maintain it today. Learn more about the GBNP Foundation here.
In 1987, the Nevada legislature adopted the bristlecone pine as the state’s second state tree.
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