Old Glory Oak

   The “Old Glory” Pico Oak is a Quercus lobata, or Valley Oak, a species of oak that is becoming more and more rare throughout California as it falls to the developer’s ax or is killed by drought and over-pumping of our water supplies.

   Valley Oaks are the monarchs of California Oaks by virtue of their size, beauty, and age. The largest trees have massive trunks, like our own “Old Glory Oak” in Stevenson Ranch, sometimes measuring six or seven feet in diameter and may tower a hundred feet above the ground.  The lobed, felt-covered leaves bud out in the spring to become a summer kingdom of shade in a landscape drenched in hot, bright sun. Then they lose their leaves in the winter.

   Twenty years ago, tree-sitter John Quigley climbed this ancient oak in protest over its imminent demise to make room for more development. His 72 days in the tree sparked international media attention and brought thousands of visitors rallying for its preservation. Ultimately, the tree was moved just down the road to an open space park where it stands today, still healthy, thanks to the care of the County Parks Department.

   SCOPE is a long-time member of the California Oaks Coalition. You can find out more about California oaks and access studies at the California Oaks Foundation.

Here’s the picture story of how everyone worked together to save this magnificent old oak