Wye Oak State Park - Atlas Obscura

Wye Oak State Park

Wye Mills, Maryland

The last remains of one of the oldest and largest oak trees in the United States calls this state park home. 

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Believed to have germinated in 1540, the mighty Wye Oak stood tall and proud in the small town of Wye Mills, Maryland. In 1919, it earned the distinction of being the first tree ever listed in the American Forestry Association’s “Tree Hall of Fame.”

The Wye Oak inspired the American Forestry Association’s Big Tree Champion program in 1925 and was named one of the first National Champion Trees in 1940.

With a circumference of 31 feet a height of 96 feet, and a 119-foot crown spread, it was the largest white oak in the United States and the State Tree of Maryland from 1941 until it was destroyed in a massive thunderstorm on June 6, 2002. It was still producing maturing acorns when it fell.

Thousands of seedlings cloned from the Wye Oak have been planted across the United States. Locally, there are two at Mount Vernon near Alexandria, Virginia, and another that was planted within the remains of the trunk of the original tree in a ceremony on June 6, 2006. A marker stands near the site of the cloned tree.

Wye Oak State Park was founded in 1939 and has grown from a single acre to 29 acres, and a small schoolhouse—the second oldest in Talbot County—still stands on the site.

Also on display is a segment of a huge branch that weighed 35 tons and reached almost 50 feet in length. The branch segment is preserved within a gazebo near the back of the main park area.

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August 28, 2023

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