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Baby Black Bear by Chuck Wiser

2022 was a historic year for big trees in New York State


The states tallest tree fell in January and the biggest tree in NY was just discovered

By Andrew Harris, photo of the new “biggest” tree in NY by Fred Breglia, Arborist

Trees don’t get enough time in the limelight, considering the roll they play in keeping us all alive and breathing. Living in rural western NY we can consider ourselves spoiled with the diversity of trees in our forests. While our forests suffered from the mass clearcutting in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, our first settlers did leave many pockets of “old growth.”

Tree 103 was revered and sought after by tree huggers and tree hunters alike to witness the one hundred and sixty-foot white pine near Lake Placid. Early this year hikers traveled to give 103 a hug and found that the tree was down and dead. Read the full tree obituary in the New Yorker:

That bad news turned into a pleasant surprise just a few weeks ago. A well known tree hunter was driving down the road in Schaghticoke, a suburb of Albany and a massive tree on the horizon caught Fred Breglia’s eye. The arborist from Cobleskill is also a professional tree hunter, as described by

“Breglia is the executive director of the Landis Arboretum and an elite player in the competitive world of big tree hunting. He also runs a popular Facebook group dedicated to the sport. Over his 20-year career combing New York’s fields and forests for so-called “champion trees,” Breglia’s name has appeared next to dozens of entries in the state’s Big Tree Register.

Fred and his wife made a bee line for the massive American Cottonwood and started to take some of the standard measurements. Tree “scoring” requires basic metrics like height, circumference, and canopy diameter to rank trees. As Breglia measured he was amazed to find that the tree was over thirty three feet around! Here is Fred with the tree and his description of the find from Fred’s Facebook page:


“An EPIC Tree Hunt, measuring New York State’s BIGGEST Tree! A whopping 540 AF total points this MASSIVE Cottonwood (Populus deltoides.) Is not only the NY Champ but also a contender for the National Champion status. It measures almost 34’ in circumference and still stands at 108’ tall after loosing it top to a storm. Schaghticoke, NY.”

Read the full story about Breglia’s big find here, from

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Lisa Harris, 58, Wellsville

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