To experts and historians, it was simply known by a number. A white pine, which was dubbed as tree 103, is believed to be one of, if not, the tallest trees in the entire state. It had been estimated to be 160.4 feet tall. But like everything, nothing lasts forever. It appears that age and the natural elements have caught up with the giant tree that grew in the Adirondack Mountains. What exactly happened?

The white pine (or, the Eastern white pine or soft pine) can grow to almost 190 feet. They are abundantly found across the northeast, Great Lakes, Appalachia, and southern Canada. They are the tallest type of tree in North America, according to the Native Tree Society. The Poughkeepsie Journal says that white ones can live for 350 to 400 years, which is quite amazing if you think how much history has passed since this tree started growing.

According to Justin Waskiewicz, a forestry professor at Paul Smith’s College, another nearby tree broke back in July and began to lean hard on tree 103. In early December, a windstorm swept across that portion of the state. The weight of the other damaged tree, plus the strong winds appear to have done tree 103 in. The Journal says that the fallen tree was discovered on December 11.

Tree 103 is believed to have been the tallest tree in the state for some years, though one ecologist claims to have measured another tree a few feet taller in 2020. The New York State DEC has a Big Tree Registry, though the list is not comprehensive. Though, while the debate can rage on who's tallest, just about anyone can agree that losing a tree that stood for so long is very sad.

In other news, relive some of New York state's odder, lesser-known headlines of 2021. It's been quite a year.

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