Virginia Beach Has a New Champion

Swamp Chestnut Oak at Stumpy Lake Declared National Champion

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is proud that a very special Swamp Chestnut Oak tree located at Stumpy Lake Natural Area has been declared a national champion by the American Forests organization. The tree is now listed in the Champion Tree National Register.

Based on height, circumference, and crown measurements, Virginia Beach's Swamp Chestnut Oak (scientific name Quercus Michauxii), received a total number of 426 points, making it a state champion as well as a national champion. Stumpy Lake Natural Area is a 1,400 acre city property, managed by Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation. The tree is located in a wooded area close to Stumpy Lake Golf Course.

This tree was originally identified in 1990 as a potential champion by "big tree hunters" Byron Carmean and Gary Williamson. It was re-measured this year by Mik Lestyan, Byron Carmean, and City Arborist Susan French. Lestyan and Carmean are members of the Urban Forest Trailblazers, an active volunteer group that maintains trails at several local sites. Dr. Eric Wiseman from Virginia Tech submitted the nominations into the Virginia Big Tree database and to American Forests.

By recognizing champion trees, both American Forests and the City of Virginia Beach hope to focus public attention on the aesthetic beauty and critical ecosystem services provided by our largest and oldest trees.

Urban Forest Trailblazers w Champ tree Oak4.jpg 

About Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation
Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation strives to promote healthy lifestyles and protect the City's coastal environment, as well as to ensure all residents – regardless of their physical, social and economic circumstances – can access Parks & Recreation programs. The department's vision is a balanced, sustainable and value-focused system of parks, recreation and public spaces that create a sense of community. Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA, the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association. For more information, visit or call (757) 385-1100 (TTY: 757-711 Virginia Relay). Sign up for Parks & Rec email newsletters at Find us on Facebook at

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