Big Tree Coordinator in Rhode Island plans to reclaim braggi

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Big Tree Coordinator in Rhode Island plans to reclaim braggi

Post by edfrank » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:57 pm

Rhode Island’s Big Tree Program
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Big Tree Coordinator in Rhode Island plans to reclaim bragging rights

Paul Dolan has been fascinated with Big Trees for many years, and became more involved with the program after being named Urban Forester for the state of Rhode Island in 1999. Now, the Deputy Chief with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Dolan is the state coordinator for Rhode Island's Helen Walker Raleigh Champion Tree Program and AMERICAN FORESTS' National Big Tree Program.

Dolan says one of the highlights of being a state coordinator is seeing the thrill from landowners who own the tree species that are named largest in the state, and their excitement over the bragging rights that come with it. Some of the more popular state champion trees are the Giant Sequoia in Bristol, the historic Beeches at Newport Mansions, all large Elm and Oak trees, and several cultivars in urban areas.

Rhode Island once boasted the national champion pussy willow in Jamestown for 15 years before being dethroned in accordance with AMERICAN FORESTS' 10-year rule which states: "trees must be re-measured at least every 10 years to maintain their champion status." But things are looking up for Rhode Island with the possibility of new national champions and the pussy willow reclaiming its title. AMERICAN FORESTS will launch the 2011 National Register of Big Trees online this summer.

When asked about Rhode Island's Champion Tree Program, Dolan said "the future is bright." Their goal is to find and protect the biggest tree species throughout the state. They also hope to increase the visibility of the program in order to increase public participation to help foster all of Rhode Island's tree resource programs.

Rhode Island has a comprehensive list of state champions with pictures and GPS coordinates to find them. To view the most recent list of champions and nominate trees, visit the Rhode Island Tree Council website at, or call (401) 764-5855.

The Rhode Island Tree Council or RITree, is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating healthy urban and community forests to support the state's vibrant economy and enrich the lives of Rhode Islanders. With its numerous programs and activities, RITree is able to educate the public and bring a greater awareness about the importance of trees. To learn more about the Rhode Island Tree Council and the Helen Walker Raleigh Champion Tree Program, visit

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