Big-tree hunter Riley Smith talked about big trees and who is pursuing them:

On who hunts trees

“Big-tree hunters come from various backgrounds and careers. Many are foresters or arborists. Some are professors or writers or photographers or just people that love nature. Some are adventure-seekers.”


On the importance of big trees

“Obviously we have fewer ancient trees than we had pre-settlement. Big trees are important for taking pollutants out of the air and for providing habitat for many species in a way that younger trees cannot. The thing is, all stages of forest are important; big, old trees just take longer to grow.”


On the importance of the state having a big-tree registry

The reason that champion tree programs are important is because they can be symbols. People can easily go without appreciating your average tree. It is easier for the average person to appreciate a tree that they can say is the ‘largest tree of its kind’ in all of Minnesota. Bringing attention to the biggest and oldest trees and getting the general public to appreciate them helps encourage people to appreciate and care for the environment as a whole. In a way, big trees are the ambassadors for their kind.”

Tori J. McCormick