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Oregon Campground Dying Like Namesake Tree

Near Merlin, Ore., what used to be the tallest known Ponderosa pine on the planet has died, and now its namesake campground is set to join it, the Mail Tribune reported.

A beetle infestation has done in the 259-foot Ponderosa pine that was tallest of its ilk known for more than three decades before it was supplanted in 2011 by another tree in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest by about 9 feet.

It once was one of 61 “Living Witness Trees” tapped in 1987 as being around when the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Now its moniker is “hazard tree,” one of several dead but still-standing trees whose widow-maker capabilities have closed Big Pine Campground, the 12-space area near Galice where the tree resides, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

“It’s a hazard tree, so how do you reconcile that?” forest spokeswoman Chamise Kramer says. “It’s incredibly difficult to cut a tree that big, and some people might be upset by that.”

So the forest’s Wild Rivers Ranger District now plans to rid the campground of its fire pits, picnic tables and other amenities and reopen the lands there for “dispersed” camping, just like anywhere else in the forest, Kramer said.

For the full story, click here.

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