About Chloe Bennett

Chloe Bennett is a climate change reporter based in Lake Placid, NY. Originally from North Texas, Chloe has always been drawn to the natural world. In 2022, she graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY where she focused on environmental reporting and audio production. She grew a deep appreciation for the Adirondack Park while interning for the Explorer in the summer of 2022.

Reader Interactions


    • Erik Danielson says

      Hi Craig, the trees in the Cathedral Pines range up to a little over 12 feet in circumference and most are between 120 and 140 feet tall, though one is nearly 150. So not quite so large, but they are very old-looking and have a lot of character, and I think they must be the most accessible grove of old-growth pines in the park.

  1. T says

    I have checked out the big trees in pine orchard near Wells N.Y. Also is Big Ben still standing at Massawiepie Scout Camp?

    • Alan Reno says

      New to me. I attend summer camp at Massawiepie as a scout in 1977 and as a counselor in ’80.
      Do you recall the location of Big Ben? (Massawiepie then was composed for four sub-camps.)

  2. Boreas says

    That is a beauty! King George would have loved that tree for his Royal navy. Arrow-straight – imagine the mast that would have created!

    • Morgan Wright says

      King George used white pine for masts? That’s surprising, since white pine is one of the weakest woods. I’d have guesses they used hardwood. Tulipifera grow straight and tall. Makes me wonder what wood they used.

      • AdkWill says

        They wanted the size, straightness and flexibility of white pines. There are still white pines in Maine with the king’s stamp on them . It is2 safe to say that for at least 100 years white pines propelled a lot of England’s maritime and navy.

        Southern yellow pine is way stronger per unit size, but per unit mass there is much less difference. I have not checked but I suspect that it’s density was a negative for really large masts

  3. WF Posey says

    Georgia Pine forest near Augusta 30 years ago I lived in a little house. Across the highway was a big forest, a reserve at the time. In there I found a big pine tree that it took me 6 times with my arms spread to go all the way around it, we are talking about 20 feet in diameter. I could find that tree today or draw a map if the forest around there is not cut down. It well could be down, as there was a huge land development in recent years. But it might still be standing.

    • Erik Danielson says

      Big pines near Augusta GA would most likely have been Loblolly Pine- that species is the largest species of pine in eastern north america, getting up to nearly 2000 cubic feet in volume, whereas this tree is the largest known Eastern White Pine at around 1450 cubic feet. Sounds like a great spot!

  4. Cory says

    I’ve Seen bigger white pines diameter wise in the Siamese ponds wilderness. Idk about the height tho but, wouldn’t be surprised if it gave this tree a run for its money!

  5. Marty says

    There is a tremendously large white white pine south of cranberry lake on the outlet from big deer pond. It lost most of its top during the 1995 blow down but the circumference at breast height is enormous. I haven’t heard much about this tree because local Forester’s do not want people to find it. For obvious reasons.

    • Erik Danielson says

      Thanks, I’ll put that on my list to check out. We do usually keep tree locations vague, for similar reasons. Five Ponds Wilderness is so large that it’s tough to cover in terms of searching for large trees, and as you note due to the blowdown many of the old trees have lost their tops and don’t really stand out with the remote detection methods we use to find them.

  6. Richard Carlson says

    Seems like the big pines above High Falls on the Oswegatchie (2 adults could not touch hands circling the tree) would be bigger. But alas maybe they were knocked down in the micro-burst in the 1990s.

  7. David Juron says

    Are you aware of the white pine in the south timber track across the river from the NYS ranger School in Wanakena NY. Back in 1968 it was 96 feet to the first branch.

    • Erik Danielson says

      Yes, the Wanekana pine was the largest we’d modeled for volume in NY prior to this tree. It’s about 1100 cubic feet. Its top has seen some damage in the last few decades, but it’s still an incredible tree.

  8. Raymond P. Budnick says

    Sounds like we’re all going to keep you running, looking for larger specimens! : )

    How about a check in site where we can register a particular species and specimen for it’s girth at chest height. As well as give location data, such as town, road, longitude and latitude or 100yds in on xxx trail?

    Also, it would be nice if there would be a NY “Matriarch” Law, protecting any species that is beyond a particular girth or age, specific to their particular species.
    As such specimens are truly examples of a genetic quality that has thus far survived man’s environmental onslaught. And as such, should be valued their proven genetic supremacy and so, continue to procreate and pass on this genetic superiority.

    • Erik Danielson says

      That’s the idea! Sometimes the best way to find even larger trees is to claim a record and see if anything comes forth that can give it a challenge.

      Two good options for that are MonumentalTrees.com for individual trees, or making an account and posting a site report at the ENTS-BBS forum for more in-depth reporting on a particular forest.

      Stronger legal protections for exceptional trees and forests in NY would be great, for a number of reasons. I’m skeptical that such exceptional trees are genetically “superior,” as a rule- there are too many confounding factors of the landscape and natural history affecting the life and growth of any single tree. Trees with genes for traits like faster growth can sometimes be identified in controlled trial nurseries (hence “improved” strains of some pine species used in timber plantations), but we’re far from understanding the interactions of genes with growth and longevity in complex natural environments, and there is probably no such thing as simple “superiority” in that sense.

      • Kat Ziemke says

        I have some rival white pines on my property and adjoining land, which is at the south western tip of the Adirondack Park. My property is known on the state and national historic registry as “The Pines.” A couple of years ago, I lost what was at least a 300 year old white pine in terrible wind and ice storm. The age of the tree is approximated due to its enormous size was when it was photographed in the mid-1800s. I have several other trees like it and surrounding my land, preserved by me and one of the original owners, a conservation forester who introduced NY’s first conservation in forestry act. An experienced arborist in the region has confirmed that my trees are some of the largest in the state. I am fighting to preserve these ancient pines but a logging company wants to take them. If you would like to create a video and/or article on these trees and thereby help me petition to save these ancient giants, please send me an e-mail. For the trees and the planet!

        • Erik Danielson says

          Hi Kat,

          Hopefully the moderators of the comments here can put us in touch via email. I’d be happy to talk about your pines and see what can be done to advocate for their preservation. Each of these superlative trees and forests reinforces our understanding of the value of mature and old-growth forests.


        • Erik Danielson says

          Hi Kat,

          I sent you an email to follow up. Definitely interested in seeing what I can do to help.


      • Diane Robideau says

        Also on Southside road going to Gabriels from Paul Smith s..I heard there is an old growth massive white pine ,location is secret ,and a good hike in..

  9. Chris Armstrong says

    I hate to be nay sayer but I have seen white pine in the five ponds and high falls area that big and possibly bigger

    • Erik Danielson says

      There are some others known with larger circumferences. Finding one that’s larger in overall volume is a lot more of a challenge, though. The height of the trunk with minimal taper is really key here- at 80′ high the trunk is still over 40 inches in diameter, and the total height is over 151′. That said, I am hopeful that with continued searching we may find an Adirondack white pine with a trunk volume over 1500 cubic feet, and five ponds is one of the areas with potential.

  10. Alan Reno says

    So who here is old enough to remember seeing the famous leaning tree at Paul Smiths College? Its silhouette (sp?) is on the college seal. And what became of the two POS that cut it down one night?

  11. Eric says

    That is a big one, I too have stumbled upon a giant in the Plains while bushwacking. It was all by itself. This was quite some time ago. Maybe bigger than the one in this article.

  12. Bill Burkert says

    This was an interesting read.

    In 1970 and 1971 I worked as a summer intern for the Forest Service in Northern Idaho. In 1971 I was a timber cruiser. We used a Relascope to measure height and a tape to get DBH. When we came upon an especially tall tree, my cruising partner and I would make a beer bet on how high the tree was. We would then determine the winner with the Relascope. We got pretty darn good at it. The tallest trees in Northern Idaho where I worked were usually Western larch. 50 years has passed, but I think I recall 180 feet as being a tall tree.

    Big trees have always intrigued me. I am now recalling a grove of large trees which I found while deer hunting up near Saranac Lake about 30 years ago. Walking through them was like walking in a cathedral. They had obviously escaped the lumberman’s axe and probably were a climax forest.

    I believe we put our canoe in at Second Pond and paddled east until the pond ended. I then hunted southwest and stumbled upon them. Perhaps these vague directions will be of benefit to someone in locating this stand, but you might have to beat me there!

    • Erik Danielson says

      Thanks for the memories, Bill. The stand you describe is one I’ve spent a lot of time documenting- when I first got into it in 2017, one of the trees took the title of tallest tree in NY at 163 feet (it’s now a bit over 165′). Some of the tallest trees there are on a little “island” in a bog on the south side of the long esker ridge. That location(including nearby stands on the other side of Halfway Brook) has the greatest number of white pines over 12′ circumference in a single area anywhere in the world, though I think this new site will probably exceed it when we’ve had a chance to do more extensive measuring.

  13. Dan Hitchcock says

    Very interesting article. I found the largest pine tree I have ever seen , located in Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area years ago. Often go back to it. Now I have to make a trip to measure it.

      • Dave Greene says

        That’s interesting — there have been several claims of big pines in Siamese Ponds Wilderness.

        A bit over a quarter century ago, I led a small group on a long day trip from the west edge to the east edge of Siamese Ponds. Once we left the ex-International-Paper lands along the west edge, we were passing huge old yellow birch, white spruce, and hemlock trees one after the other — and the occasional pine. One particularly memorable white pine was over 150 feet tall by our rough measurements, and about fifty feet to the first branch.

        I tried getting back to see if it was still there, about a year ago, but it’s quite a hike! Will try again soon.

  14. Janet says

    Thank you for all you do. I live in the southern Catskills. I live on top of a ridge that has never been logged. My neighbors and I are working to try to conserve our area. We have an Eagle preservation but only 300 feet on my land. Too much development too fast down! Wish me luck!

  15. ADKScott says

    Erik, Nice find! Have you checked out the White Pines at Pine Orchard in Wells. Many are “doubles” but could approach the DBH you have here.

    Also, it sounds like Kat Ziemke has some notable pines that would be interesting for you to survey with NTS Sine method.

    I know that Bob Leverett found a massive White Pine (Lyndacker Pine) out that way, which I think was much greater than a cube.

    Perhaps you could also post these to the NTS BBS. Again, nice work.

    • Erik Danielson says

      Hi Scott,

      A trip report for this forest will end up on the BBS when I have a chance to get around to it.

      The Lyndacker Pine has a larger circumference, but is not as large by volume. It splits into two smaller trunks relatively low.

      Pine Orchard is a great site, but probably a little younger based on the form and traits of the trees. On average the trees are a bit shorter and smaller in girth than at this site. The largest is probably a little over 15′ circumference by now.

  16. Scott Murray says

    We have very large white pines in our yard near the East Branch of the Ausable in Keene Valley. More than 12′ circumference and >120 feet tall.

  17. Greg J says

    Must be getting towards the end of its life. I hope it’s cut down and made into lumber instead of rotting in the woods giving off carbon

  18. Dan Hitchcock says

    Hiked into the old growth pine location this AM with a cloth tape measure just to compare the tree I located , to others mentioned. This one measure 17’&6” in circumference aprox. 5’ above ground level.


    • ADKScott says


      Sounds like Dan has found a contender in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness. Thank you, Dan! Hopefully Erik can survey and photograph that white pine, as well! Looking forward to more great trees in our Park!

    • Erik Danielson says

      Hi Dan,

      That does sound like a contender! Is it a single solid stem? If you’re willing to share the location (we could get in touch over email) I’d love to do full measurements for the height and volume of the tree next time I’m able to get up in that area.


  19. Chad says

    I’ve logged for many years and have cut many white pines with more girth than 5 feet in diameter. I’ve seen ancient hemlocks and sugar maples that would make your head explode.

  20. Lem Hegwood says

    Hi Erik
    I read your article with great interest as I was planning a trip to explore the Moose River Plains.
    One hike I took was to Beaver Pond. 1.24 miles on the trail I found a HUGE white pine. Lacking measuring tools, my wife and I measured it by our arm spans, 3 of mine and 1/2 of hers. The circumference was 3*72” +36”. = 252” circumference or about 8’ diameter!!!
    I can send you GPS coordinates and/ or pictures if you wish.
    The Moose River Plains is surely unique in many ways.
    Lem Hegwood

    • Erik Danielson says

      Hi Lem,

      I have seen some photos of the tree you mention. It would be considered a multistem and is in the 125-135′ height range, so it’s not likely to approach the same total volume of the tree in this article, but it’s definitely very impressive! It’s on my list to take a side trip to visit next time I’m in MRP/


  21. Tammy says

    Oof, I was hoping to find something in the comments about conservation groups or something of that nature arranging hikes to see this, but after reading the two logging comments… I can imagine why that doesn’t happen. Pity. Maybe NYFA can organize something…

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