Big Tree Hunt

The 2014-2015 Big Tree Hunt is underway!

Grab your gear and head off into the trees to see if you can find the biggest trees in Michigan!  Download the Big Tree Hunt form for details.

About the Contest:
ReLeaf Michigan, a nonprofit tree organization, created the Michigan Big Tree Hunt contest in 1993.  Before the contest, Paul Thompson, a brilliant botanist, searched for Michigan’s big trees and kept records since the early forties.  Today, RM encourages Big Tree Hunting among all age groups to assist natural resource experts track these vital historical living landmarks. 

The Big Tree Hunt committee reviews all submissions.  Winners will be announced at a special ceremony where certificates and prizes are awarded.  The winning entries will be forwarded to the Michigan Botanical Club Champion Tree Coordinator for the State of Michigan, who will review them for possible inclusion in the State Champion Tree List.  These champions are considered for the National Register of Big Trees issued every two years by American Forests.  As of 2012, Michigan ranks 7th in the country with 28 registered National Champions.  Your find could make it to this nation-wide historical record.   Happy Big Tree Hunting!

The 13th Michigan Big Tree Hunt contest is now underway. Thanks to those who participated in the 12th Michigan Big Tree Hunt contest by tapping into their inner naturalist and finding the biggest tree they could to earn a chance to win prizes.  While new entry forms are being printed the old ones will work just fine. (Click HERE to download the Entry Form.)

The Michigan Big Tree Hunt is a great activity for families, groups of friends, fun dates, or solo adventurers.  By identifying big trees participants take part in a statewide effort to track these living landmarks. They could find the largest tree in your county or even the state! The biggest trees are nominated for the State Champion Tree List and possibly entered into the official National Register of Big Trees.

Certificates and Prizes are awarded for:
  • Largest Tree of any species submitted by a Big Tree Hunter over 16 years old
  • Largest Tree of any species submitted by a Big Tree Hunter 15 years old and under
  •  Largest White Pine (Michigan’s State Tree), any age
  • Largest Tree of any species for each county
  • Largest Tree (any species) that is larger than the current registered Michigan State Champion
  • Tree much be living and accessible for verification
  • Tree trunk circumference is measured at 4 ½ feet above ground (see image above)
  • Include tree species if possible
  • All entries must be postmarked by August 1, 2015. Click here to download the entry form.

Got questions?
If you need more information or want to join ReLeaf Michigan to find out about our tree education programs, community tree plantings, and other news, contact us at 1-800-642-7353 or

2012-2013 Michigan Big Tree Hunt Award Ceremony Recap

There were sixty six winners in the 2010-2012 Michigan Big Tree Hunt Contest. Certificates and gifts were presented to the winners at a ceremony held at the Whiting Forest Visitor Center in Midland on Saturday, November 3.  Brian VanPatten oversaw the festivities as chairperson for the contest along with Gail Cagle, who served as co-chair.

The Whiting Forest Visitor Center which is down the street from Dow Gardens served as the perfect venue for the award ceremony.  An informal reception with light hor d’oeuvres preceded the ceremony. A short presentation was given by Brian VanPatten about the Michigan Big Tree Hunt Contest which is a program of ReLeaf Michigan.  The grand prize winner for the largest tree entered was Lance Koops who submitted a weeping willow that was 355 inches in circumference.  This tree is also a potential state champion.  Lance also won for the largest trees entered in Alger, Mason, Oceana and Ottawa counties.  Mike Lindquist won the prize for the largest White Pine (Michigan's state tree) entered in the contest.  It was 198" in circumference and located in Munising.  Samuel Ross Kramer won the youth prize for submitting a 256" Red oak located in Holland.  Click here for a complete list of winners of the 2010-2012 contest.