Honoring a National Champion Shortleaf

(Editor’s Note: After a July storm snapped the national champion shortleaf pine tree in southern Arkansas, foresters with Plum Creek took action to carry on the legacy of this special tree. Joe Bob Terral, a native of LaSalle Parish and co-owner of B & T Sawmill at Sterlington, was the craftsman sawyer chosen to create unique lumber from this exceptional tree. The following was written by Richard Stich of the Plum Creek Timber Company.)
At 136 feet tall and almost three feet in diameter, the National Champion Shortleaf survived scores of natural disasters during its roughly 200 year lifespan – but when a severe thunderstorm rolled through southeast Arkansas on July 11, 2013, a mighty downburst snapped the champion 50 feet above the ground. The champion grew in the Wilcoxon Demonstration Forest, a parcel of timberland that was set aside in 1939 by The Crossett Company, who owned the land and operated a lumber mill, so that future generations could witness what the southern piney woods looked like prior to settlement. Since then, the land has changed hands several times, but each owner has protected the Wilcoxon Forest.
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