Wednesday, May 2, 2018

LPCL Treasure Hunt Parish Registry Update

Click on this link to view a May 2018 update of the "Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy Treasure Hunt-- A Registry of the Largest/Oldest known Cypress in each Louisiana Parish". Several new Parish discoveries have been added since the previous version, including centuries old cypress in Ascension, Bossier, Claiborne, Iberville, Lafourche, Livingston, Natchitoches, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Terrebonne, Webster, and Winn Parishes.

Parishes still awaiting discovery of a 215 + year old cypress ("Alive in 1803") include Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Claiborne, East Feliciana, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, LaSalle, Lincoln, Madison, Ouachita Parish, Pointe Coupe, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Helena, St. James (Blind River Boring pending), St. Martin, St. Mary, Vermillion, Vernon,  and West Baton Rouge.

And for those Parishes already having registered cypress listed, we are always happy to hear of trees that may be older than those listed.

Saline Bayou, Cloud Creek Crossing, Winn Parish

Monday, March 19, 2018

St. Landry Parish's Two Oldest Known Cypress Identified

The "Cathedral Tree" near Washington LA.

Many thanks to Mr. and Mrs Larry Lieux for taking me to this beautiful old cypress that they've christened the "Cathedral Cypress". According to Larry, the tree is located on several hundred undeveloped acres of land known as Kops and Kids, which is leased for hunters and maintained by St. Landry Sherrif Bobby Guidroz. The Lieux's and friends ride horses on this heavily wooded property, and discovered this tree several years ago while on on of there horseback rides.
Last November we took a rollicking ride on the Lieux's Honda Big Red ATV on muddy, rutted paths to the site of the tree on Bayou Corron. 
Here's what we found

Cathederal Tree, (Lieux) St. Landry
GPS N30 37.113 W092 04.448
Circumference 24' at buttress (6.5 feet above ground), estimated 19' trunk
72 inch diameter, 36 inch radius
boring: 2.75 inches -- approx rings counted: 51
51 rings/x = 2.75(boring)/36(radius)
x=667 rings
PROJECTED AGE: APPROX 500-550 YEARS OLD  (This estimate accounts for the likely faster growing rate doing the tree's early years--the part of the tree that is now hollow)Cathederal Tree, 

Cathedral Cypress:
Tightly spaced rings indicative of a very old slow growing
cypress--approximately 51 counted on this boring


Ancient Cypress Landmarked on Bayou Jack in St Landry Parish

This Bayou Jack Tree maintains a 24'+ trunk to the full upper canopy

Bayou Jack,  St. Landry Parish
GPS N30 50.778  W091 52.042
Circumference: 24’6’’ (trunk—6 ft above base)

Location on Bayou Jack in extreme NE St. Landry Parish northwest of Melville, just below Avoyelles Parish Line

This tree (and several nearby ones) certainly rivals the Cathedral Tree near Washington as the
oldest known cypress in St. Landry Parish. Although I was unable to to get a boring of the tree, it's 24 ft. trunk circumference certainly would make it at least as old as the Cathedral (At least 500 years old) As with the Cathedral cypress and many similarly sited LPCL  landmarked cypress , this is likely a very slow growing cypress. It has been landmarked with Plaque #42. Many thanks to Mr Rabelais for location information. This and the Cathedral Tree are prime examples of statewide (if not national) natural treasures hiding in plain site, but which could not have been landmarked without the
help of hunters, landowners and others who tell us where to find them!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Save Dufrene's Legacy Cypress Tree in St. Charles Parish

In Bayou Gauche, Louisiana lies a historical 360+ year old bald cypress tree in peril of being destroyed. This tree is located on a parcel of property owned by the Dufrene family at 154 Bayou Estates South in Des Allemands, Louisiana in the Sunset Levee District.  St. Charles Parish is currently attempting to acquire a perpetual servitude as part of a levee project on this property. Our bald cypress tree has a majestic full canopy, a rare find for a tree of this age. It is one of the few trees of this magnitude that is located in an area that can be viewed and enjoyed by the public. Many families from our community have used this setting to commemorate a lifetime of special events such as weddings, graduations, family pictures, etc. This tree was registered with the Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy organization in 2010 because it was alive prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Currently, it is the only bald cypress in St. Charles Parish that is registered with this organization. We commend St. Charles Parish’s past and present administrations in their efforts to obtain flood protection for the residents of St. Charles Parish and are in full agreement for the need of adequate levee protection. However, this can still be done without harming the tree.  Engineering, design, and construction methods for Corps certified levees are modified routinely for public and private industry infrastructure; a 360+year old tree should receive the same consideration. At this point, the four agencies involved in determining the fate of this tree are LBLD (Lafourche Basin Levee District), St. Charles Parish Government, BKI (Burk-Kleinpeter Inc.) and GCR Inc. The LBLD board has voted to issue a letter indicating that they were for efforts to keep the tree.This majestic cypress tree is truly a Louisiana treasure and we would deeply appreciate any help in saving this tree which has stood the test of time. It is a part of history and deserves every effort for protection.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


A  Lake Bruin cypress in Tenses Parish  appeared to be an unlikely candidate for Cypress Legacy landmarking.
But life long Tensas Parish resident Skip Hawkins, pictured above, believed  that this patch of cypress in the lake had never been logged and may be worth looking at. At only six feet in circumference, the tree belied its looks-- a ring count on the boring sample below revealed a tree likely between 190-220 years old. Probably about a 50- 50 chance it's a La Purchase Cypress Legacy Tree-- alive in 1803.

Here are the details:
GPS: N31 59.921 W
Circumference:  72 inches   Diameter:  22 inches   Radius: 11 inches
Boring:  4.75 inches   Rings counted: approx 103
4.75(boring)/11(radius) = 103 (rings counted)/ x
X = 238 projected rings
Based on length of boring relative to radius, location of tree, I’d project the age at 190-220 years
Tightly spaced rings mean slow growth and old age for this medium sized cypress.


Skip certainly knows the lay of the land in Tenses Parish and surrounding areas. His ecotourism group , Louisiana Delta Adventures (, has mapped out paddling trails through many of North central and northwest Louisiana's  waterways, including Lake St. John, Bayou Bartholomew,Tensas National Wildlife Refuge, Corney Bayou, and Bayou De L'outre and many more. Excellent brochures available though Louisiana Delta Adventures highlight the locations (including GPS coordinates)  of relatively accessible centuries old cypress interspersed along these waterways. The Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy is honored to work with Louisiana Delta Adventures to promote the appreciation and stewardship of the remarkable natural heritage of north and central Louisiana.
Currently the oldest known cypress in Tensas Parish is the easily accessible landmarked (Louisiana Bicentennial Cypress Legacy plaque) Buckhorn Refuge Cypress (N32 06.68 W091 21.940) circumference 23'5", estimated age 450-500 yearsThe largest/oldest cypress (see Blog inventory for photo)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

St. Tammany Parish Giant Landmarked in Brockham Bayou

Jessica Gauley  of poses nest to one of the Honey Island (Pearl River) swamp's venerable denizens in Brockham Bayou near Slidell La -- a highlight of her kayak tours. She had always wondered how old this tree might be, and I was happy to find that it is indeed a venerable member of the many centuries old cypress still thriving in the Pearl River Basin-- around 400 years old based on rings counted from a boring sample. This one is quite accessible,  visited either on on of Jessica's kayak tours, or on your own. 

GPS: N30 21.786 W089 44.371
Circumference: 16' 3" Diameter: 4' 4" Radius: 2' 4"
Coring: 3.36 inches  Rings counted: approx: 72
The arithmetic to determine estimated age:
3.36/26 (coring/radius) = 72/x
x= 557 estimated total rings
Based on a likely faster growing rate at the beginning of its life, I'd put its age at 400+ years
Landmarked with Plaque #49-- "Alive in 1803"  (Likely around 200 years old at time of La. Purchase)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Another Ancient Cypress Landmarked in Livingston Parish

King George Bayou in Livingston Parish holds a treasure-trove of beautiful old cypress. I was fortunate to have been contacted by Keith Hemsteter, a former (now part-time) employee of La Wildlife and Fisheries who had recently signposted  cypress tupelo habitat recently added to the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area along King George Bayou. He came across a giant cypress he thought would be a good candidate for the Louisiana Purchase Cypress Legacy. No doubt about this one! It has been awarded LPCL plaque #45.
Circumference: 21 feet (above the buttress)
Diameter: 6 feet 8 inches  Radius: 3 feet 4 inches
1st Boring: 5.37 inches   Rings counted: approx. 200
2nd Boring  3 inches       Rings counted: approx..144
Projected age: 1100+ years

Many thanks to Keith for discovering what at this point is the oldest known cypress in Livingston Parish and among the oldest in Louisiana!

Keith Hemsteter at the site of 1100+ year old cypress

Location on King George Bayou (which enters the Amite River) west of French Settlement

 A two inch section of one of the two borings taken. Rings shown here are farther apart than in other sections

Old growth cypress is plentiful along King George Bayou--much of it now in the expanded Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area