If you're been to the West Coast, you know about the Giant Sequoias. Largely located in Kings Canyon National Parks, and the Giant Sequoia National Monument, they are only native to these two, small slivers of land in western California.

Except... for three trees, which are more than 2,200 miles away, in Manistee, Michigan. But why?

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The Giant Sequoia is only native to western California, so when you see three of them not only growing, but thriving Up North in Michigan, it's a bit strange. More than 2,000 miles away from their native land, the trees were planted by Gertrude and Edward Gray in 1949 just outside of Manistee.

On a trip to California, they brought back six sequoia seedlings, planted them, and three survived.


Dr. Bill Libby is a professor of forestry and genetics at the University of California-Berkeley, and says their ability to grow in northern Michigan is beyond incredible. In fact, the first time he saw the large tree in Manistee, he was in awe.

"Any giant sequoia surviving, and particularly thriving, at or near the then-known edge of its potential range, provides an important data point as we consider where to possibly plant his species as climate changes."

The main tree is perched on a cliff along Lake Michigan, at the Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary. The other two are just as incredible, but just haven't grown as big yet.

Libby believes the trees have been able to thrive because of their proximity to Lake Michigan, which provides natural insulation that keeps them warm during the winter, and cool during the summer.

"It is common for people to hold massive giant sequoias in awe, no matter where they are growing. As the Manistee sequoias grow larger and larger, they will likely attract a local fan base that will defend them against anyone or any organization that wants to kill them.

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Giant Sequoias in the Wild

There are actually two species of the Giant Sequoia. The one we're most familiar with is the RED Giant Sequoia, mostly located in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The most famous of which, is General Sherman, estimated to be between 2,200 and 2,700 years old, and measuring nearly 275 feet tall.

The other species is even further west, in the Kings Canyon National Parks, these are the Green Giant Sequoias. They aren't quite as large as the Red Sequoias, but still reach heights a couple hundred feet tall, and dozens of feet around.

The trees growing in California are regularly under threat from wildfires in the region, and many generations of trees have been lost. Which is why conservationists are working so diligently to find ways to not only continue to grow the trees, but in areas not threatened by fires.

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