Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

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Coordinates: 37°23′8.42″N 118°10′43.91″W / 37.3856722°N 118.1788639°W / 37.3856722; -118.1788639
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Protected Area
Methuselah Walk USA Ca.jpg
The Methuselah Grove trail in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Country United States
State California
Region Inyo National Forest[1]
Parts Methuselah Grove
Sherman Memorial Grove
Location White Mountains, Inyo County, California
 - coordinates 37°23′8.42″N 118°10′43.91″W / 37.3856722°N 118.1788639°W / 37.3856722; -118.1788639
Highest point
 - elevation 3,410 m (11,188 ft)
Lowest point
 - elevation 3,000 m (9,843 ft)
Area 43.75 sq mi (113 km2) [2]:a
Biome Central Basin and Range ecoregion
Plant Pinus longaeva - Great Basin Bristlecone Pine

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is a protected area high in the White Mountains in Inyo County in eastern California. The Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) trees grow between 9,800 and 11,000 feet (3000–3400 m) above sea level, in xeric alpine conditions, protected within the Inyo National Forest.[3][4] Foxtail Pine (Pinus balfouriana) also grow in the forest.

Methuselah[edit]

The Methuselah Grove in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is the location of the "Methuselah", a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine more than 4,750 years old. For many years, it was the world's oldest known living non-clonal organism, until superseded by the discovery in 2013 of another bristlecone pine in the same area with an age of 5064 years (germination in 3051 BC).[5] "Methuselah" is not marked in the forest, to ensure added protection from vandals.

Geography[edit]

Pinus longaeva - Bristlecone Pines in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, White Mountains, California.

The forest is east of the Owens Valley, high on the eastern face of the White Mountains in the upper Fish Lake-Soda Spring Watershed, above the northernmost reach of the Mojave Desert into Great Basin ecotone.[6] The forest's mountain habitat is in the Central Basin and Range ecoregion (EPA) and Taiga and Boreal forest ecoregion (WWF). The Patriarch Grove is the source of Cottonwood Creek, a designated Wild and Scenic River.

Fire[edit]

On September 4, 2008, an arsonist set fire to the Schulman Grove Visitor Center and several bristlecone pines. The building and all the exhibits within were destroyed. Activities to rebuild the center began the next day and are now complete.[4][7][8]

The Methuselah Grove trail[edit]

The methuselah grove trail starts from the visitor center at 9,846 feet and makes a 4.5-mile loop that includes the side valley of the Methuselah Grove where the oldest tree lives, a high section looking out eastward over Nevada's basin-and-range region, and side trails to old mining sites. Numbered natural-history markers are explained by a booklet.

Visiting[edit]

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is generally open from mid-May through the end of November, weather permitting.[4]

  • Schulman Grove and Schulman Grove Visitor Center – daily interpretive talks and natural history lectures mid-June through Labor Day, and hiking trails.
  • Patriarch Grove – home of the world's largest bristlecone pine, the Patriarch Tree, and a self-guided nature trail.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Welcome to the Inyo National Forest". U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  2. ^ Miller, Leonard. "The Ancient Bristlecone Pine". The Bristlecone site. Archived from the original on 4 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-10.  a. Discovery
  3. ^ Inyo N.F.-Bristlecone Forest . accessed 8/30/2010
  4. ^ a b c NFS: Bristlecone Natural History . accessed 8/30/2010
  5. ^ "Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research OldList". Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Bryce, S"."A; et al. Ecoregions of Nevada (poster). Reston, Virginia: USGS.  NOTE: The poster depicts the California northern point of the Mojave Basin & Range ecoregion at pixels 453 horizontal & 1151 vertical (interpolates to 37.28N,117.71W in the Last Chance Range, north of Sulfur Rd).
  7. ^ "Fire claims Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest visitor center". Los Angeles Times. September 6, 2008. Retrieved tbd. 
  8. ^ Woods, Tom (2009-04-10). "Arson Charges for Schulman Visitor Center Fire". Retrieved 2012-01-27. 

External links[edit]

  • www.fs.usda.gov – Inyo National Forest official Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest site
  • www.fs.usda.gov – Inyo National Forest: The Natural History of the Bristlecone Pines