Monday, May 6, 2013

Saturday in Idyllwild viewing it's most gigantic Ponderosa Pine

Well, at least the biggest I am aware of after living there and exploring for 3 year between 1981-83
Photo Mine!
This is the largest tree I have ever found in Idyllwild that is still alive. Back in the pioneer old west logging days, these were very common. This tree is on Tahquitz Dr near the South Circle Dr in Fern Valley. I used to live across from this tree back in the early 1980s at Fern Valley Corners where Chart House and Baker in the Forest was located. I lived in an apartment above the old Town Crier Newspaper office there as well. Admittedly, I am a bit worried looking at the top of this tree which is showing signs of weakness due to drought which may effect bark beetles being present in the tree. 
Below I attempted to take a full view in three sections. Hmmm, how did I do ?

All Mine!
Yeah I know, it's not perfect, but you get the main idea!!!  *smile*
Sad Update April 18, 2017 on the Fate of this Majestic Ponderosa Pine - Idyllwild
Idyllwild California - The locally named and beloved Ponderosa Pine called "So Big" was finally felled after it had succumb to Pine bark Beetle in just a few months. However, after taking down one of the giant pieces, tree cutters found a surprise near the tree's top.

Update June 1st 2018 Drone Aerial View Idyllwild

Drone Photo by Frazier Drake (June 1, 2018)

Tom Roberts
The above photo speaks volumes as to the dying forest within Idyllwild and the surrounding landscape of once lush and glossy green Strawberry Valley. This aerial drone photo was taken by Frazier Drake (June 1, 2018) & published in My-Idyllwild. Another couple of years and all of these trees are going to be wiped out for good. If the present system of things is allowed to continue, the entire Southern California mountainous ecosystems will all be converted to chaparral with only small pockets of woodlands where moisture is consistent to remind people of what once was. When I first moved here in 1981, it was some of the richest green I'd ever seen. The pine needles even shimmered from reflection of sunlight. Everyone use to comment on that. Hard to believe such a dramatic turn around has been possible. Oh and this guy in the photograph is former US Forest Service Wildlife Biologist, Tom Roberts, who lived and worked here in the late 70s through much of the 1980s. I had a conversation with Tom Roberts on 1982 at his office in the older US Forest Service office in Idyllwild (now home to the Idyllwild Town Crier). He said all the trees in Idyllwild were going to eventually die and the best replacement tree was going to be the Giant Sequoia, native to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. At the time I could not believe this because the forest within and surrounding Idyllwild was lush and green. I just couldn't picture it. There were numerous large health specimens of Giant Sequoia planted in downtown Idyllwild and in front of the elementary School. Tom Roberts was both right and wrong. Yes, the forest is all dying off by the 10s of 1000s, but so are almost every single one of those more resilient Giant Sequoia trees. Thomas Roberts too has died. Here is his obituary in Sadly, it seems nobody even remembers Tom Roberts in Idyllwild anymore. Even the Idyllwild Town Crier has no mention of his passing. Most people I knew (like the forest) from there are long since gone. 


  1. Oh it's perfect. The bark is more developed than any I've seen, whether the variety in Colorado, NM, Arizona, etc.

    Curious - do you think Jefrrey Pine is really just another variety (subspecies) of Ponderosa Pine?

    1. The Ponderosa and Jeffrey are close relatives and the Ponderosa here is a differing variety from your's over there. Here, the Pacific Ponderosa needs a cleaner moister habitat, where the Jeffrey is used to tougher drier hotter conditions.


  2. Gorgeous tree! I sure do love the tall pine trees!

  3. Ahhh...we were just up in Fern Valley, at the Fern Valley Inn, two weekends ago! There was a rescue of a hiker off Tahquitz Peak~two helicopters and 3 fire trucks. I'll have to find this tree.
    ~~Cheryl Ann~~

    1. I'm actually surprised you'll never seen it before.

  4. The last time I was up near Idyllwild, I thought its pines seemed healthier (more of them alive!) than hereabouts in the Cuyamaca Mountains. Just enough moisture to keep the bark beetles in check. Hope it stays that way!

    This is a great tree.

    1. Except if you'll notice, the top of this tree has very very thin foliage. That worries me. I remember at one time it being as dense as the rest of the tree. Anyway, look at the pics again and make the comparison.

    2. Thin, but green, at least. Brown crown presages death in our neighborhood, and I've come to hate seeing that telltale color on our pines. Hopefully this big tree has deep, deep roots sunk well into the water table.


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