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Pioneer Park gazebo.

Champion Trees

Washington State contains some of the largest and tallest trees on earth. The height, girth and history of these trees have been meticulously documented and the most noteworthy are known as "Champion Trees". Walla Walla, known as the "City of Trees", is the home to 59 of Washington’s “champion trees” … including four national records. The planting of the towns’ trees began with the pioneer settlers who wanted a reminder of their eastern homes.

With the pamphlet A Walking Guide to the Big Trees of Walla Walla in hand, we headed to Pioneer Park. In 1901 farsighted citizens transformed this former cow pasture into what is now considered the crown jewel of Walla Walla. The first trees planted were gathered from all over the country, including the U.S. Botanical Gardens in Washington D.C. John C. Olmstead, the famous New York architect, is credited with greatly influencing the design of the park. The grounds consist of a green oasis containing marvelous forested areas, an aviary with approximately 200 exotic birds, a rose garden, duck pond, swimming pool and gazebo. The tiny speck to the left of this Champion Sycamore is Sherry ... you can click on the photo to get a better perspective.

On a street lined with huge trees, we looked for the biggest Catalpa tree in the nation. We're pretty sure this is it. This monster of a tree must have beaten its neighbors by only inches. The pamphlet says it measures 22 feet in circumference, 86 feet high, with a crown of 84 feet. Sherry could not be convinced to scale this giant to confirm the numbers.

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