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Texas | Features | Texas Historic Trees

THE GOOSE ISLAND OAK

aka The Big Tree
aka The Bishop's Tree
aka The Lamar Oak

Goose Island State Park

Aransas County
12 Miles North of Rockport
On park Road 13 – very near the beach

Goose Island State Park Area Hotels
Fulton Hotels | Rockport Hotels

Goose Island Oak, The Big Tree, Bishops Tree, Lamar Oak
The Big Tree AKA The Goose Island Oak
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, 2006
Record or Champion Trees are determined by their girth, their spread and their height. There are many Live Oaks that surpass this tree's height, however when the tree's girth is factored in, it makes this one the Champion Live Oak in Texas.
Texas' largest tree is found on the Lamar Peninsula within the Goose Island State Park just off highway 35 before you reach the Copano Causeway (if you’re coming from the north). Signage will direct you, but the signs are close to the ground and infrequent.

The tree has allegedly been a hanging tree, a pirate's rendezvous, and even a ceremonial site for the cannibalistic Karankawa Indians.
Goose Island Oak, Rockport Texas old photo
"Largest Loveoak of the World, Rockport, Texas."
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
Texas - The Big Tree / Goose Island Oak plaque
The Big Tree / Goose Island Oak plaque
Photo courtesy David Armstrong
The tree has disappointed generations of Texans who often feel that their Live Oak back home is bigger – or at least taller. They may be right. Determining a record tree involves three measurements: the spread of the crown, the circumference and the height. An overall score is reached by these factors, and according to the experts – this one is the winner.

In the case of the Goose Island Oak, the factor least argued about is the tree’s massive girth. According to the book Famous Trees of Texas, the tree’s circumference was recorded at 42 3/4 feet in 1966. The crown was 44 feet high and the spread was 89 feet.

The tree is naturally linked to anyone remotely connected to the coast – from a meeting place of the rude Karankawas to Cabeza de Vaca and LaSalle.

The estimated age of the tree is 1,000 years old. Although a core sample has not been taken, it shouldn’t be too long until technology allows for a reliable determination of the tree’s age.

While the tree has had its immediate neighbor’s thinned-out over the years, enough of the trees younger cousins have survived to give an idea of how the mott appeared in the past. The unusual branching pattern is a result of the near-continuous gulf breeze.
Goose Island Oak, Texas largest tree
The Goose Island Oak
TE Photo, August 2003
Estimated to be 1,000 years old, the tree can disappoint visitors who had been imagining a Giant Sequoia. Our tip for visitors who don't want to be disappointed: Don't visualize Giant Sequoias.
Trees east of Goose Island Oak, Texas
The trees immediately to the right (East) of the Big Tree
TE Photo, August 2003
The Big Tree
Photographer's Note
"I first saw the tree in the early 1960's while on one of many fishing trips to the coast. While living in Aransas Pass in the 1990's I took my children there many times and it never failed to impress me no matter how many times I saw it. Thinking of the history that tree must have seen and the hurricanes it survived gives you an appreciation of how sturdy and tough those old Live Oaks are." - David Armstrong, June 09, 2011
Texas - The Big Tree / Goose Island Oak
The Big Tree
Photo courtesy David Armstrong
Texas - The Big Tree / Goose Island Oak
The Big Tree
Photo courtesy David Armstrong
Texas - The Big Tree / Goose Island Oak
The Big Tree
Photo courtesy David Armstrong
Texas - The Big Tree / Goose Island Oak
The Big Tree
Photo courtesy David Armstrong
The Goose Island State Park allows an opportunity for observing the migratory whooping cranes and deer abound in the thickets.

Area Destinations
While visiting the tree, you might consider visiting the picturesque Lamar Cemetery - shown on detailed TxDoT maps. Lamar was a town named after the Republic of Texas' second President that held great promise in the 1830s. Lamar is included in More Ghost Towns of Texas by T. Lindsey Baker, University of Oklahoma Press, 2003.

Texas' second largest Live Oak is in Columbus, Texas.
Directions to The Big Tree
Leaving Fulton, heading N and crossing over the Copano Bay bridge, the first right will be Park Road 13. This will connect with Lamar Beach Road that can take you to the tree. Signage is adequate for finding your way there after leaving Highway 35, and depending on the time of day or the season, you may encounter deer on the narrow, densely shaded and flowered road.

© John Troesser
Copano Bay Causeway, Copano Bay , Texas
Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, October 2007
Copano Bay Causeway -
Hwy 35N near Fulton, Texas
Goose Island State Park

202 S Palmetto St. Rockport, TX 78382-7965
361/729-2858
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

Goose Island State Park Area Towns:
Rockport, Texas | Fulton, Texas

Goose Island State Park Area Hotels
Aransas Pass Hotels | Port Aransas Hotels | Rockport Hotels
More Hotels

More Texas Historic Trees

Related Topics:
:
Texas State Parks
Texas Gulf Coast
Texas Towns
Texas

Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.

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