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January 20
1993 - Hart High grad Dee Dee Myers (1979) becomes first female White House press secretary [story]


[KHTS] – A dozen years after naturalist John Quigley helped save the giant oak Old Glory from certain death, Santa Clarita Valley environmental group SCOPE is recognizing the importance of community involvement at 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to the group’s president.

johnquigleyoldglory“I think what was so significant about this is that we have been, in this valley, as an oak tree city, and we care about our native oaks,” said SCOPE President Lynne Plambeck. “And this developer was really going to proceed with disregard for that.”

In 2002, a Stevenson Ranch developer reached terms with SCOPE regarding several native oak trees at a site slated for development, but their deal didn’t end up getting put into the officials terms for conditions of approval, Plambeck said.

“We kind of got tricked,” Plambeck said. “The developer went in and he took out two really big heritage oaks — he was after the third.”

Running out of options, the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment reached out to John Quigley, a renowned environmentalist who has already achieved fame for tree-sitting in Northern California, Plambeck said.

Quigley, a charismatic individual who was able to galvanize support and draw attention from all over the world, stayed in the tree for 72 days, she said.

People even began sending mail to Old Glory as Pico Canyon  Oak No. 409, she said, adding children sent countless drawings that were displayed around the tree.

Eventually, under the advisement of county Supervisor Michael Antonovich, the massive oak was moved about a quarter-mile down the road — a feat that made the Guinness Book of World Records for Largest Tree Moving, Plambeck said.

Old Glory“Joining Quigley at Friday’s celebration will be Art and Helen Tanderup, who’ve become leaders of a group of farmers that have stood up against the Keystone XL Pipeline by refusing to let it cross their farm land,” according to a SCOPE news release. “The XL Pipeline will transport tar sands crude from Canada across our country for export from Texas harbors, ruining farm land and potentially putting communities in danger.”

The success of Quigley and local environmentalists shows that by communities banding together to take action can succeed and have a very real impact, Plambeck said.

The more than 400-year-old, 10-foot-in-diameter ancient heritage oak sitting at Pico Canyon Park is living proof of that.

“Civic action makes a difference and it should be celebrated,” Plambeck said. “So we’re celebrating saving that gorgeous old oak and celebrating the ability of residents to make a difference in their community.”

The celebration is taking place at 1:30 p.m. in Pico Canyon Park, 25600 Pico Canyon Road in  Stevenson Ranch.

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12 Comments

  1. You rock John Quigley!!

  2. Kayla Simon Kayla Simon says:

    Danielle Pomeroy-Simon. I remember going with papa to see this!

  3. Josh Shannon Josh Shannon says:

    Damn tree huggers.. LOL

  4. I always check on this magnificent tree and am still amazed at what John Quigley and the people who supported him did. I also wondered what happened to the gigantic United States Flag I had brought to the original site when he was there.

  5. Wow can’t believe how long it’s been! Remember it like it was yesterday! Gorgeous tree!

  6. T. Jones says:

    Recently the “million dollar oak” (more like five mil) has looked sick. I think its’ health is in decline.

  7. T. Jones says:

    Park staff told me their supervisors have ordered them to turn off the water. Everyday waterings of this tree alone consume 500+ gallons a day. Natural selection will now ensue.

  8. It’s hard to believe that people are still referring to this as a 400 year specimen. I made a quick tree ring count on the stubbed off branch 12 year ago by standing on a folding metal chair. I counted about 140 rings which would be consistent with the arborist’s estimate of 180 to 220 years.

    Developers are subject to the procedures of CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and the determinations of the County’s Planning Commission. The best time for involvement is during the planning process, not after the fact.

    I commend the efforts for “Old Glory’s” preservation and the expertise of Senna Tree Company. However, I have to wonder how many acres of oak woodland could have preserved with the amount of money that’s been spent on one senescing tree.

    For that matter, I would like to see a report from Regional Planning on what has been accomplished with money from the County’s oak tree ordinance and oak tree mitigation fund.

  9. I remember…not cool, Lennar!

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