Big Trees

Pennsylvania's State Parks house many green giants, some of which are found here in the Big Tree listing. The Big Tree program is a record of the largest trees found in Pennsylvania's State Parks. Each species is recognized, allowing for a wide variety of big tree champions, from the 125-foot tall Red Oak at Cook Forest State Park to the 15-foot tall Witchhazel at Clear Creek State Park.

The process begins with a nomination by a park visitor or employee. This nomination can be based upon visual inspection of the tree and some simple measurements. Once a tree is nominated for the Big Tree program, the score must be determined by a forester.

There are three criteria for determining the score of a tree. Circumference is a measurement taken in inches at 4.5 feet above the base of the tree (circumference at breast height). One point is given for each inch of circumference. The second measurement is height, and is the distance in a straight line from the ground to the highest point of the tree. One point is awarded for every foot of height. The final criterion, average crown spread, requires two measurements. The first measurement is taken at the widest point of crown spread, the second from the narrowest point. The two values are added and divided by two to give the average crown spread. One point is awarded for every four feet of average crown spread. The points awarded for the three criteria are then added to produce a final score, which is used to determine a tree's rank among other Pennsylvania State Park Big Trees.

When visiting a Pennsylvania State Park, keep an eye out for these giants. There are undoubtedly big trees that have yet to be found in Pennsylvania's State Parks. If you see a tree that might be eligible for the Big Tree program, write down the location and give it to the park manager to begin the nomination process.

Species Park Score Date Nominator
Aspen, Big Tooth
Populus grandidentata
Parker Dam 146.25 9/92 Raymond Trump
Magnolia acuminata
Hyner Run 200 9/86 Mike Stone
Elm, Slippery
Ulmus rubra
Hyner Run 174 9/86 Mike Stone
Crataegus macrosperma
Parker Dam 73.5 9/92 Scott Streator and Eric Rensel
Hemlock, Eastern
Tsuga canadensis
Cook Forest 335.5 1990 Greg Rearick
Hickory, Mockernut
Corya tomentosa
Hyner Run 182.5 9/87 Mike Stone
Hickory, Pignut
Carya glabra
Hyner Run 182.75 9/86 Mike Stone
Ostrya virginiana
Parker Dam 99.5 9/92 Scott Streator and Eric Rensel
Hornbeam, American
Carpinus caroliniana
Parker Dam 99 9/92 Scott Streator and Eric Rensel
Locust, Black
Robinia pseudoacacia
Hyner Run 196.75 9/86 Mike Stone
Maple, Red
Acer rubrum
Parker Dam 232.5 9/92 Scott Streator and Eric Runsel
Maple, Striped
Acer pennsylvanicum
Hyner View 52.5 9/87 Randy Frey
Oak, Red
Quercus rubra
Cook Forest 365.25 1992 Szymkowiak and Rearick
Oak, Swamp White
Quercus bicolor
Bald Eagle 336 9/91 Tony Miele
Pine, Red (Norway)
Pinus resinosa
Hyner Run 182 9/87 Mike Stone
Pine, White
Pinus strobus
Hyner Run 271.75 9/86 Mike Stone
Hamamelis virginiana
Clear Creek 32.5 8/91 Beverley Evans