The Question:

I was recently hiking on the Heney Ridge Trail, and we stopped to pay homage to the glorious Mother Tree, as is tradition. Are there any estimates as to how old the Mother Tree is?

-Shae B. 

The Answer:

What a great question, Shae. For those of you who don’t know, there is a massive tree slightly off of the Heney Ridge trail. When you are hiking the trail in, you’ll find the tree after the large bridge that crosses Hartney Creek. The tree can be seen from the trail.

I turned to the US Forest Service – Cordova Ranger District, for help answering this question. Madison Seigler, a Forestry Technician for the US Forest Service, has been gathering data on the tree. This tree is 83.5 inches in diameter and approximately 120 feet tall. More measurements need to be taken of the stand before she can confidently give an age of the tree; however, she believes it to be over 600 years old. A stand is a unit of measurement of a forest defined as a contiguous group of trees relatively uniform in age-class distribution, composition and structure (Helms 1989).

A special thanks to Madison, of the US Forest Service, for helping us answer this question. Madison is currently gathering local information about this tree. If you have any information to share about the giant tree off of Heney Ridge Trail, please reach out to Madison Seigler at the US Forest Service, Cordova Ranger District. We are currently seeking more Ask a Scientist questions from the community. Please send your questions to