"Lightning Tree" was named in about 1995, as the Replacement for Rob's Tree

2002 image (see below for 2007 and 2014 images of Lightning Tree)

During OSP 1993, this huge Ponderosa became a victim of lightning. About 1 am., a monster bolt of lightning smashed down; your OSP photographer (Bruce) was huddled in his tent nearby, first deafened, then frightened as pieces of the pine rained down nearby, to the accompaniment of powerful deluges of rain. In the morning, he crawled out of his tent into the mud, witnessing a 3 foot long spear of pine wood planted in the ground nearby...

Two years later (probably Spring 1995), OSP's original "mascot" tree, "Rob's Tree," was felled by assumed vandals, paving the way for this Ponderosa to fill its "shoes" in OSP t-shirt images and other publicity...For the first couple years after the lightning strike, the Tree's struggling foliage hinted that it might survive heroically, but by 1996, it was clear, it was dead.

Officially, most now call the dead Ponderosa "LT," for "Lightning Tree." In this 2002 image of "LT," you see 6,800 foot Mt. Pisgah and 4,700 foot Big Summit Prarie forming the dead tree's backdrop. A close-up of the Mountain Mahogany trees at the base of LT may be found further down this page.

In the 2007 image below, four years have passed, and LT has continued to disintegrate, loosing big chunks of bark, various pieces of limbs, and its main top has broken off. In addition, increasing amounts of moss and lichens are growing on its skeleton. Nearly everyone now concludes that it will not revive....The picture was taken on the last day of OSP 2007, when the weather had turned cool and rainy. Clouds blow across the face of Mt. Pisgah, but Big Summit Prarie is still visible beneath the scudding clouds. I have extensively enhanced various features of the original image to illustrate these features.

And here's an image of what's left of the top of LT in 2014


Mountain Mahogany


See below for the Danger of Fires Closing Down the OSP!

The above spectacular picture from OSP 2004 is a vivid reminder of the fact that Oregon's high mountains during the summer can and do occasionally bring lightning storms! Image compliments of OSP participant Shannon Miller.

Fire Closure Fire Closure Fire Closure Fire Closure Fire Closure

Fire Closure! This is the nightmare headline which OSP fears.....Below I have quoted a Fire Alert from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). I post it to remind modern OSP participants that thunder and lightning can be much more than just scarey or inconvenient. Our Indian Trail site was chosen for many reasons beyond the simple fact that it is considerably closer to the Portland area. One of these is that the potential for lightning-caused Fire Closures is lower than in the SE Oregon area surrounding the mighty Steens Mountain, where the first four OSPs were held....

from a BLM alert, date August 22, 2006: "....fires near Weed Lake and one near Diamond Craters have shown significant movement. Two fires are being allowed to burn within the Steens Mountain Wilderness.
Due to the activity, potential for spread, and limited resources available to battle these fires, some precautionary measures have been put in place for human safety. Effective immediately, the Steens Mountain Loop Road is closed to incoming traffic from Page Springs Campground to the Rooster Comb area. Also, Page Springs Campground is under a recommended evacuation while Fish Lake and Jackman Park Campgrounds are under mandatory evacuation. All primitive campsites on the north side of Steens Mountain will also be evacuated. The areas will be closed to public use until further notice."

Such closures by the U.S. Forest Service or by the BLM can affect us at our new site at Indian Trail Springs. The possibility of such a last-minute closure of our star party loomed so large in approx. 1995, that the OSP Committee took a serious look at a place called Soldier Creek Meadows (aka McCormick Ranch), on private land some 60 miles ENE of Bend. I was there, and was impressed-- it could have made a fine site, but costs were prohibitive.

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Page last reviewed 07/02/2023