The noblest of all firs
Noble fir is a beautiful tree with extremely slim trunk – trunks of sequoias of similar height have almost two times bigger diameter.
This slenderness is made possible by extreme lightness, toughness, and flexibility of the wood. The wood of noble fir was used for the building of early airplanes and is much-sought material also today.
Natural groves of this tree are met only in the states of Oregon, Washington and also California. Most impressive stands of noble fir are located around the Mount St.Helens.
In Harmony Falls grove northeast from Mount St. Helens there was known 99 m tall noble fir before 1980. This tree is not standing anymore as well – it was destroyed by the catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens.
Goat Marsh is a beautiful natural area located some 7 – 8 km west from the crater of Mount St. Helens. This wetland has been created by a pyroclastic flow (or several flows) from the volcano – it blocked local streams some 300 – 450 years ago.
To the north from wetlands there is rising especially impressive forest. This is a unique stand of noble fir with an area of 28 ha. Trees are 325 – 350 years old and have miraculously escaped the devastating eruptions of Mount St. Helens.
This forest has one of the highest wood densities per hectare in the world – one hectare contains up to 5,752 m3 of wood. This result is exceeded only in some groves of Californian coastal redwoods.
Stand was discovered in the 1950s and since then is managed by USDA Forest Service. Here was established Goat Marsh Research Natural Area and the stand of noble fir is used for educational and research needs.
Goat Marsh stand contains also Goat Marsh Giant – largest noble fir by volume (126 m3). Here grow also very tall Douglas firs – some of these trees are up to 93.3 m tall.
Here grows also the current tallest noble fir – it is 86 m (282 feet) tall. This tree is dying as well. (1). But there are healthy noble firs in this grove which exceed the height of 80 m.
Noble Fir in Goat Marsh on the map (approximately)
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- Native Tree Society BBS. Accessed in 3 December 2019.
|Location, GPS coordinates:||46.1771 N 122.2816 W (possible mistake by 1 km)|
|Where is located?||North America, United States, Washington, Cowlitz County, to the north-east from Goat Marsh wetland 7 km west-south-west from the crater of Mount St.Helens, at the height of 900 – 1000 m. Exact location not given|
|Species:||Noble fir (Abies procera Rehder 1940|
|Height:||maximum reached: 89.9 m (1989)|
|Crown spread:||13 m|
Early travelers coming up the Cowlitz River saw a large rock formation next to the river, which they named Castle Rock. It was here, nestled between the Willapa Hills and the Cascade Mountains, that William and Eliza Huntington made their homestead in 1852. Theirs and several other early land grants make up what is now the site of Castle Rock, as well as nearby homes and farms.
Stretching from the redwoods of California to the vast stands of spruce and hemlock in southeast Alaska, coastal temperate rain forest have been for thousands of years home to one of the highest densities of human settlements on the continent. Given its mild climate, magnificent scenery, and abundant natural resources, the region should continue to support robust economies and vibrant communities for many years to come.