Goose Island State Park

The "Big Tree"

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The "Big Tree" at Goose Island State Park was named the State Champion Coastal Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) in 1969, and is thought to be one of the largest in the nation.

The "Big Tree" statistics:

  • Trunk Circumference: 35 feet 1.75 inches or 10.71 meters
  • Average Trunk Diameter: 11 feet 2.25 inches or 3.41 meters
  • Crown Spread: 89 feet or 27.1 meters
  • Height: 44 feet or 13.4 meters
  • Age: In excess of 1,000 years

 



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Plaque at the front of the Big Tree by John E. Williams:

Welcome to my home.

I am a live oak tree and I am very old. I have seen spring return more than a thousand times. I can remember hundreds of hurricanes, most I'd rather forget, but I withstood. There was a big fire once. I hate fires.

Around me are my offspring. We are an old-dune woodland community. We provide shelter and acorns for squirrels, jays, raccoons, bobwhite, deer, javelina, and most other members of our community.

For most of my life I belonged only to myself. Now I belong to you, or so I'm told. Humpf! Branch breakers and root tramplers the lot of you.

Some years ago someone came and patched my cracks, trimmed my dead branches, killed my pests and healed my fungus rots. Was that you? I'm feeling much better, thank you.

I am tired now. You may leave me in peace when you are ready to go. Please leave my home as you found it. I have important things to do. The seasons are changing again and I must get ready.

 


 

The Big Tree
by Mary Hoekstra, Rockport

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I have gathered sun and rain to grow green leaves,
Swaying softly in spring, rustling like applause in fall.

My limbs have shaded generations;
My roots have reached for centuries;
My children and their children's children surround me,
Here in this peaceful part of my land.

Golden sunlight diamonds have glinted on the ground around me.
Cold fingers of ice have touched my heartwood.
Dust-dry days of sandstorms have scoured my skin.
Torrents of rain, driven by gales have rushed at me,
And I have swayed, but stayed unbroken.
Silver moonlight has kept me company many a night.

Yet through all the seasons, sorrows, bitterness, and beauty,
All of the history I have withstood and witnessed,
There has been one thing I could not do.

I could not grow green dollars, or silver, or gold.

Will you help me, standing here before me?
Then we may both grow old together,
As old friends should,
One of flesh, one of wood.


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