Did you know the world’s 2nd largest tree by volume is located right here in Kings Canyon National Park? General Grant Tree, a masterpiece of nature, is also designated as our Nation’s Christmas Tree. It stands in honor of peace and as a tribute to all fallen American service hero’s. It is a living tribute, protected for the world and future generations to enjoy.
This majestic tree is forty feet thick at its base, with a height of two hundred and sixty-seven feet. If you can imagine looking out the 20th-floor window of a high-rise building and being met by the sight of a treetop, then you can well imagine the magnitude of this living giant, General Grant Tree. The bark of the Nations Christmas Tree features deep reds and rich brown tones, and its thick bark is constantly regenerating to protect the great tree from fires and environmental stressors.
In 1925 the Grant Tree received its title as our Nation’s Christmas Tree. Each year for nearly one hundred years, locals and visitors alike complete the annual “Trek” to the Grant Tree to celebrate the Christmas season. It is hosted by the Sanger Chamber of Commerce, the city designated as the Nation’s Christmas Tree City.
The little town of Sanger resides at the base of the Sierra Nevada’s. The celebration in itself is a an event to be cherished. This year’s tree-ceremony included beautiful music and insightful speakers.
I was touched by the words of Clay Jordan, Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks when he thanked American Veterans and shared that this Giant Sequoia presents an opportunity for “peace and reflection of as one of the most remarkable places on our planet, and a place of inspiration and healing for us all”.
Supervisor Nathan Magsig, shared the poignant Christmas message of the King of the World, who created the surrounding beauty, and came to us as a sacrifice.
He went on to share how the roots of this tree are shallow and intertwined with surrounding Sequoias, each helping the others stand, much like American people. We help each other because we are Americans. He ended with reminding listeners to have the faith to ask for great things such as family, service, neighbors and how we interact in the world.
The audience was a diverse crowd of people from all over. I had the joy to speak with visitors Stacy and Carrie, they were prompted to attend the “Trek to the Nation’s Christmas Tree” this season after learning of the event online. They planned their whole California winter vacation around it and were very pleased they did! Of course, they stayed all bundled-up, glad for winter clothes in the thirty-seven degree weather. A stark contrast to the climate the two are accustomed to at home in Florida.
I also met Nancy and Mark Johnson of Sanger. Mark served as the Mayor of Sanger over thirty years ago and he and Nancy make the trek almost every year for the ceremony. I myself plan to make it my tradition as well and encourage ALL to attend this FREE, inspirational event each year to come.