DNR Forester Jesse Steele with old growth Douglas-fir estimated to be 250-300 years old. Photo by: DNR
This Douglas-fir has seen a lot in its lifetime on the Olympic Peninsula. DNR conducted an old growth assessment and concluded that the tree is between 250 and 300 years old. It may already have been standing in the forest when the first U.S. President George Washington was born 282 years ago this week. Today, like each year on the third Monday of February, we celebrate our nation’s presidents.
Can you imagine what changes have taken place since this tree was a seedling more than 250 years ago?
251 years ago – When this tree was young, Benjamin Franklin was conducting experiments to uncover the complexities of lightning and electricity.
225 years ago – By the time George Washington was elected president in 1789, this tree was already as old as most of the ones you see in our forests today.
203 – 207 years ago – When Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809, Washington State was already rapidly undergoing many of the changes that would shape it into the community we know today. Just four years before Lincoln’s birth the Lewis and Clark Expedition entered the area that is now Washington State. Two years after Lincoln was born David Thompson sailed down and completing the first formal mapping of the Columbia River.
125 years ago – The State of Washington was admitted to the Union on November 11, 1889. That year the U.S. government endowed the state with 3.2 million acres of trust land.
57 years ago – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources was established — just over 150 years after our first president began his term in office. The new agency combined seven agencies and boards, including the Commissioner of Public Lands who administers the state trust lands and DNR.
DNR Forester Florian Deisenhofer with a Douglas-fir estimated to be over 400 years old. Photo: Dan Friesz/DNR.
49 years ago - The first formal DNR recreation sites were created in 1965.
43 years ago – In 1971, Washington State legislature stopped the sales of state tidelands and shorelands, and the State Environmental Policy Act was established. The following year, DNR was selected to manage natural area preserves, and the first natural resource conservation areas were established.
Washington State has come a long way since the days of those first presidents. We can celebrate history and the accomplishments of our country and state today while remembering these majestic old growth trees that have seen it all.
Happy President’s Day!