With the Covid-19 pandemic limiting what everyone is up to, my family and I have taken the opportunity to try and explore areas close to home. Recently we made the trek out to Viola, West Virginia, in western Marshall County. There in Viola stands the biggest tree in West Virginia. An old sycamore believed to be upwards of 400 years old has so far stood the test of time and been a witness to the whole of the American experience.
In 1963, for West Virginia’s Centennial Celebration, the Division of Forestry held a big tree contest. Entries from all over the state were entered covering many different types of trees. This Marshall County giant is not quite the tallest tree, though at 117 feet tall it is not far behind, but considering its circumference and crown spread it scores as West Virginia’s champion tree. The tree is 311 inches in circumference and has a 128 foot crown spread. It really was amazing to see such a large tree. It boggles the mind how big the giant sequoias and redwoods out West must be. Truth be told, early American settlers and colonists came face-to-face with tremendously giant trees. George Washington reportedly documented a large tree with a 41 foot circumference near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, as he surveyed the area a decade or so before the American Revolution.
The pandemic has certainly changed many of our day to day lives, but it has also given the chance to explore things we might not normally have done. Taking a trip to the biggest tree West Virginia was one of those experiences my family enjoyed. What have you been up to?