Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 18, 2022

Red Bank boasts state champion Virginia pine

Red Bank Mayor Hollie Berry, Don McKenzie and UT Knoxville student Kayla Stuart accept the State Champion Tree Award Nov. 9 at the Awards of Excellence Ceremony at the Tennessee Urban Forestry Conference. - Photos courtesy of the City of Red Bank

The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council awarded the city of Red Bank the Tennessee Champion Tree Award this month in recognition of a 94-foot-tall Virginia pine located in the city.

Red Bank Mayor Hollie Berry accepted the award Nov. 9 at the Tennessee Urban Forestry Conference at Montgomery Bell State Park.

Don McKenzie, a professional wildlife conservationist, discovered the massive tree, which hails 35 inches in diameter, while documenting the plants and animals that reside on the former Red Bank Middle School site.

Chattanooga City Forester Pete Stewart assisted with verifying the tree’s species since most Virginia pines are short and bushy. Stewart confirmed the large tree is a Virginia pine and said it is “undoubtedly” the biggest one he’s seen.

McKenzie then submitted the pine’s measurements to the Tennessee Champion Tree Program in 2021.

This past summer, two students from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Urban Forestry program traveled to Red Bank to examine and measure the pine.

The duo took measurements of the tree’s diameter at breast height, the height of the pine and the average crown spread. The measurements were entered into their standard equation, resulting in an award-winning point value.

McKenzie learned that the pine is the state champion in September. The tree will reign as champion until someone finds another tree with a higher point value or it’s no longer standing.

“Finding such an impressive tree anywhere is rare and exciting,” says McKenzie, “but finding it on an historic public property is priceless.”

The city of Red Bank has submitted the pine’s data to American Forests, which by the summer of 2023 could possibly crown it as the national champion.

“Red Bank is a city full of natural beauty,” says Berry. “We look forward to preserving this treasure for our community to enjoy.”

The tree is located in a forested stand near the Southwest corner of the property. McKenzie led a group that cleared a trail leading to the tree.

Red Bank City Manager Martin Granum says there are no plans to disturb the stand of trees.

Source: city of Red Bank