Locals applauded for big tree finds

Courtesy Photo Will Meinhardt, of Alpena, poses by a black willow tree that took top honors for biggest tree from Alpena County submitted in ReLeaf Michigan’s 2022 Big Tree Hunt in this photo provided by ReLeaf Michigan.

ALPENA — An Alpena tween took home top honors for Alpena County in ReLeaf Michigan’s 2022 Big Tree Hunt, the organization announced on Monday.

William Meinhardt, 12, tracked down a tree honored by ReLeaf as the largest in the county, as submitted by contestants in the biennial competition.

Meinhardt, a tree enthusiast, discovered the award-winning black willow, with an 181-inch circumference, in his own back yard.

ReLeaf, a state-wide nonprofit tree organization, received more than 650 entries from across the state in this year’s competition. The winning entry for each county was verified on-site by professional arborists and foresters.

Other biggest-tree winners for Northeast Michigan include Nicholas Johnson, for a 144-inch circumference eastern hemlock in Presque Isle County, Gavin Carr, of Montmorency County, for a 119-inch eastern white pine, and Lois Harter, for a 195-inch red oak in Alcona County.

This year’s top tree award for the state went to an eastern cottonwood in Washtenaw County, measuring 308 inches around, or more than 25 feet.

Eighteen trees submitted for the contest qualified as new potential state champion trees.

A complete list of winners and photos of some of the winning trees are available at BigTreeHunt.com.


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