Having grown up on a small Appalachian farm in southern Ohio I developed a respect for trees at an early age. Only 30 acres of our 150 acres was flat enough to plow. The rest was forest. The trees growing there in our forest were like our money in the bank. If times got hard the trees could always be harvested for lumber. Knowing they were there was comforting to me even as a small boy.
Imagine my utter amazement when as a 14-year-old kid I first walked into the giant forest of the central Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. By comparison the trees that I had known and loved were mere twigs. I was so stunned that I never fully recovered. The trees growing there were not just big they were otherworldly. I spent the day walking among the giant trees in semi disbelief. That experience was so etched in my memory that I gravitated, as if possessed by a higher power, to the land of the giant trees to make my home. I reasoned that land that can grow a tree that big has got to be the best land.
In my over 30 years of working with the giant sequoias I have found that it's not so much the land as it is the species. I have dedicated my time here first to learning the secrets of the big trees and now to helping others to learn the secrets of the big trees so that they can grow them on their own land. I believe that there will someday be giant forests in every state.