Uniquely Utah: 200-year-old tree is state’s largest

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CASTLE VALLEY, Utah -- In the heart of Utah's red rock county, there's something very big and green.

The largest tree in the state was recently documented in Castle Valley, a small town east of Moab.

Crews from Atlas Tree Service of Salt Lake City were working in the town and couldn't help but notice the Freemont Cottonwood with its massive trunk.

They gave the tree a voluntary inspection and found the tree, which is approximately 200 years old, to be in surprisingly good health. They also measured the tree, and determined it is indeed Utah's largest.

There are other trees in Utah that are taller, or have a wider canopy, but official measurements take into account a combination of measurements to come up with a final score.

Johnny Atkin, the owner of Atlas Tree Service, says he plans to personally tend to Castle Valley's "Big Tree" in the future.

Others, including Castle Valley resident Sarah Hedden, say it's the tree that looks after humans, serving as an unofficial "weather vane", signaling changes in the ecosystem of Castle Valley.

Both Atkin and Hedden agree hugging a tree is good for your health.

If you don't care to hug a far-away tree, which is home to countless spiders, ants, and ravens, you can always just watch the video.