20 Jun A Big Tree Lovers Paradise
Hi everyone! This week I am going to be sharing some clips and photos from a Big Tree Hike that I participated in, led by John Cely.
(ABOVE:JOHN CELY BEGINNING
THE BIG TREE HIKE)
Harry Hampton is the visitor center’s namesake and the main leader who advocated for Congaree’s initial protection as a National Monument. Mr. Cely is considered one of the founding fathers of Congaree, due to his grassroots partnership with Mr. Hampton. During his years of exploration, Mr. Cely has hand drawn a map of Congaree, marking where the champion trees are located. Even after the official preservation of the park, Mr. Cely has continued to show his love of Congaree. Nearly every month he leads a hike through the park teaching visitors about the champion trees that call this place home.
(BELOW: Hand DRAWN MAP OF CONGAREE BY JOHN CELY)
Champion trees are the tallest trees in a specific tree species. Congaree National Park has been home to several champions and national champions.
The “National Champion Tree” title is given to the tallest of those champion trees. In order to claim this honor, there are three criteria that are measured:
(former National Champion Loblolly Pine tree)
Champion Tree Humor: Trees that are pretty big but not the biggest are considered part of the “junior varsity/JV team”
(potential National Champion Sweetgum Tree)
(a pileated woodpecker looking for food)
A Dip in the River
(an otter taking a swim)
CURRENT Record Holding National Champion Loblolly Pine Tree Standing at 169 feet Tall
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