Many children love to climb trees that had a lot of low extending branches. Some even live to see how far up they can climb and look out into the land.
In Craig County, not only are there “climbing trees” but also a special tree.
Most people don’t know that there is a Virginia State Champion Tree sitting in a yard on Route 42.
Hilda Johnson shared its story.
The house behind the tree is on the National Registry of Historical Sites and the tree is the largest Norway Maple that has been measured in Virginia.
“It was last measured in 2021 and was 182 inches circumference, 59 feet tall and 98 feet at the crown,” she shared. “A tree like this belongs to the whole community. It takes a collaboration to keep it safe and healthy.”
Trees are especially important in how they help protect the ecosystems and mitigate climate change.
“Maybe you have a special memory involving a tree,” Johnson inquired. “One woman told me about her junior high school years where the school was next to an open field containing a very large oak tree. She remembered how the students would often gather under the tree to eat their sack lunches or after a cafeteria lunch many would join those sitting under the beautiful giant tree. After a hurricane one year, it seemed everyone was more interested in whether the tree was still standing than they were in how the neighborhood withstood the storm.”
Johnson added that another neighbor recently told her about how she and her dad planted a Chestnut tree when she was a little girl and how much that tree means to her.
Many locals and visitors know about the Keffer Oak Tree, located in Newport on the Appalachian Trail, that is an icon.
Recently, there was a possibility of the Norway Maple being cut down, but it was quickly saved by those who treasure its standing.
Johnson poses the question, “How can we who live in this beautiful area help to preserve it for generations to come?”