NM Cottonwood Crowned As National Champion

Feb 20, 2013

One of New Mexico's Rio Grande cottonwood trees has been crowned as a national champion by the American Forest Foundation.

The New Mexico State Forestry Division says the tree's measurements were recently certified by the foundation, which maintains the National Register of Big Trees.

State officials say the cottonwood tree is 85 feet tall and measures 34 feet around its base. The tree is several decades old and is located on land owned by Albuquerque resident Richard Cordova.

The state's urban and community forester, Kelly Washburn, says the Rio Grande cottonwood is an important part of New Mexico's forested ecosystems as well as the state's cultural identity.

The forestry division says 15 national champion big trees of various species have been crowned in New Mexico over the years.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.