Alaska February 24, 2018
The Tiniest National Forest In The Country Is Right Here In Alaska
Adak National Forest lies in the wind-swept Aleutian Island chain, far out into the Pacific. The weather in Adak is a constant barrage of snow, sleet, rain, fog, and mud. It is here that U.S. Air Force soldiers stationed in WWII planted a clump of trees that have become the Adak National Forest. It’s remarkable that these trees made it through the many blustery winters, but they have held on strong. The single clump of pine trees, tightly packed together, is called the smallest national forest in the U.S. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Adak, pay homage to these tough Alaskan trees and their triumph of surviving against all odds.
In WWII, the Japanese invaded the U.S. in the remote Aleutian Island Chain of Alaska. The Japanese seized the islands of Kiska and Attu, and attacked Dutch Harbor. U.S. forces were sent to quell the attack.
The U.S. stationed 6000 soldiers at an Air Force Base on Adak Island to defend the territory. These brave airmen and women were out in the most remote part of Alaska, far from home.
Adak's Air Force Base was a key player in the Aleutian Island Campaign of World War II. Brigadier General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr. led the Alaskan Defence Command. He worried about the soldiers and the lonesome attitude that prevailed.
Conditions were rough and the soldiers struggled to keep spirits up in the constant grey, cold and rainy conditions. At one point the General decided they needed something to brighten up the situation.
In an effort to boost morale, general Buckner started a tree planting program. The soldiers planted many pines for Christmas trees, most of which failed to thrive in the harsh climate.
Only one tree was left standing at one point. That is when the sign was erected proclaiming the tree was the "smallest national forest". The forest has yet to be recognized by the National Forest Service.
It seemed the project was a failure, but then remarkably that one little tree survived and grew to the mighty forest of 33 that stands today. The trees aren’t tall, severely stunted by the brutal wind and rain that constantly blow on these island.
There are two large surviving groves of pines on Adak, located in the sheltered ravines of Nurse Creek and Hospital Creek. The stand of 33 pines is the larger of the two and bears the sign. Many visitors are drawn to this curiosity.
But the trees never stopped holding there original position as Christmas trees and cheerleaders to keep up spirits during the long Alaskan winters. They are decorated by the local community every holiday season.
Visit Adak and the nation's smallest national forest. It's just one of the many amazing things you can see in the vast and fantastic land that is Alaska.
For more about the creepy Rat Islands in the Aleutian Chain,
These Remote Islands On The Edge Of Alaska Have A Dark Past. Also check out 10 Staggering Photos Of An Abandoned Orphanage Hiding In Alaska.
Have you been to the Adak National Forest? Tell us about it in the comments below!