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The Catch: 1,400-year-old trees on Michigan cliffs

The Catch: 1,400-year-old trees on Michigan cliffs
August 16, 2022 GLN Editor

Broadcasting in our monthly PBS television program, The Catch is a Great Lakes Now series that brings you more news about the lakes you love. Go beyond the headlines with reporters from around the region who cover the lakes and drinking water issues. Find all the work HERE.


This month, The Catch features a story on Michigan’s oldest trees, believed to be 1,400 years old.

Garret Ellison of MLive discusses his recent trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where he learned of ancient white cedars growing on the cliffs of Fayette Historic State Park. The trees were first discovered back in the 1990s by a group of scientists led by researcher Doug Larson, who learned that despite the modest size of the trees, they had been growing out of the cliffs for more than a thousand years, making them some of the oldest trees in eastern North America.

The limestone cliffs at Fayette Historic State Park are closed off to the public, but you can still glimpse these ancient cliff dwellers by taking a boat or kayak out on Lake Michigan.

“Bring a camera with a long lens and look up,” Ellison said. “And in the words of Doug Larson the researcher who I interviewed, you’ll see an ecosystem and a habitat that’s been staring out at Lake Michigan for the last thousand years.”


Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

The Catch: Tracking bird migration at Toronto’s accidental wilderness

The Catch: Whitefish recruitment


Featured image: The limestone cliffs at Fayette Historic State Park in Michigan are home to some of the oldest trees in eastern North America. (Photo Credit: Garret Ellison/MLive)

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