Connecticut: A visit to a Champion Cedar in Great Cedar Conservation Area

When explorers first arrived in the New World, they discovered forests
filled with Atlantic white cedar trees. But as soon as settlers
discovered they could use cedar to build homes and barns and even burn
it to help produce gunpowder, the forests began to quickly disappear.
Today only a handful of these forests remain in the state.

One is the
Great Cedars Conservation Area in Old Saybrook. And not only do the
trees thrive in the swampy bog, Great Cedars is also home to the
state’s largest specimen of Chamaecyparis thyoides. At more than 75
feet tall with a circumference of 6 feet, 8 inches, the tree is a
state champion. If you want to see it up close, late fall, winter and
early spring are the best times. Why? Because it’s a swamp, and
mosquitoes thrive in standing water. Plus, when the leaves are off the
surrounding trees, the champion is a lot easier to see through the
forest canopy. It’s also more accessible than bushwhacking through
what may resemble an Amazon jungle in the summer. One of my favorite
places to visit on Cape Cod is the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail
within the National Seashore in Wellfleet. It’s worth being a pin
cushion for mosquitoes to walk among the giant trees along the
boardwalk over the swamp only a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean.,0,4154334.column

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