Jim Girard: The Man Who Knew Trees

Jim Girard Memorial Grove

Dedicated in 1953

Exhibit Chapters

Exhibit Chapters

60 Acres of Western Larch Trees


In 1953, the U.S. Forest Service dedicated a 60-acre old growth grove of Western Larch, also known as tamaracks, near Seeley Lake, Montana as a memorial to James W. Girard. It was discovered in 1896 and is located along the Clearwater River. Girard had a fondness for the Western Larch and his grove is special, in that many of the trees are 600 years or older. The memorial grove was a cooperative effort of the Lolo National Forest, Intermountain Logging Conference, the Anaconda Lumber Department, the consulting firm of Mason, Bruce, and Girard, and retired Forest Service personnel.

 

The champion tree is a 1,000-years old tamarack known locally as Gus that stands taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Girard had a fondness for the Western Larch and his grove is special, in that many of the trees are 600 years or older.

The champion tree is a 1,000-years old tamarack known locally as Gus. To be considered a champion tree, the tree must be nominated, measured and confirmed. Gus is the largest of its species in the world and is believed to have survived at least 40 wildfires over its lifetime. It measures 153 feet tall by 34 feet wide at its crown and is taller than the Statue of Liberty. Near the ground it is 22 feet 9 inches in circumference and 7 feet 3 inches in diameter.

The champion tree is a 1,000-years old tamarack known locally as Gus that stands taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Visit the Grove


The Girard Grove is one of the finest remaining stands of Western Larch in the United States. Each year in October, Seeley Lake hosts its Tamarack Festival and Brewfest celebrating the annual turning of the tamarack and the old growth trees found in the memorial grove.

Directions: From Seeley Lake (50-miles northeast of Missoula, Montana) take Boy Scout Road past Pyramid Lumber Mill, cross the Clearwater River outlet of Seeley Lake, past the bridge there’s a parking area on the left for Girard Grove. The parking lot is 3-miles from Hwy 83.

www.seeleylakechamber.com

More Chapters in this Exhibit

Jim Girard: The Man Who Knew Trees


Jim Girard was a timber faller and timber cruiser who became a legend in the U.S. Forest Service for his innovative and accurate timber measuring techniques. His point system to measure tree size is still used today. Learn more about his life here.

Big Blackfoot Timber Sale


The Big Blackfoot Timber Sale was one of the first sales of timber on national forest land – an estimated 50-million board feet were sold to the Big Blackfoot Milling Company and a majority of that timber came from land just east of Seeley Lake, Montana on the Lolo National Forest.

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