Update: Congratulations to Hawaii’s “Coco” Coconut Palm, voted 2014′s Ultimate Big Tree.
Forget the best college basketball team in the country. We want to know where the true glory lies: the biggest, baddest, best tree in the country.
Thankfully, American Forests, a nonprofit conservation organization, and tree lovers everywhere have joined forces to settle the age-old question: if a tree grows to impossible heights, will anyone appreciate it?
In perhaps the nerdiest (read: most amazing) bracket ever, "Big Tree Madness" has pitted 16 of the country's tallest, biggest trees against one another for the title of "Ultimate Tree." The trees come in all shapes and sizes and can be found in national forests, parks and even backyards.
The bracket contest is new, but American Forests has been around for a while. Since 1940 they've championed a "Big Tree" program, which works to promote "the importance of planting and caring for trees and forests."
With more than 68,000 Facebook likes, they seem to be succeeding. Since the bracket competition launched in late March, tree connoisseurs from all over the country have cast their votes, narrowing down America's "Ultimate Tree" to two final contenders: Missouri's "Big Sassy Bassy" (a White Basswood) and Hawaii's "Coco" (a Coconut Palm).
The contest is a tight one. While "Big Sassy Bassy" is mind-boggling large -- at 103 feet tall, its circumference is the equivalent of half a football field -- "Coco" looks to be the early favorite. The giant swaying palm seems to defy physics: how else could it possibly stay upright at 112 feet tall with only a 13.5" circumference?
Vote now at American Forests Facebook page (the winner will be announced on April 9th) and decide which tree you'd rather hug.