After a wonderful summer birthday celebration ‘Old Baldy’ the beloved McKinney Falls State Park bald cypress  is again in the news, this time as the City of Austin’s official 2012 Tree of the Year.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell will present a plaque to the park commemorating the tree’s distinction at noon Oct. 15.

“It is my pleasure to honor Old Baldy the bald cypress with the City of Austin’s 2012 Tree of the Year distinction,” said Mayor Leffingwell. “I hope folks will head out to McKinney Falls State Park to visit Old Baldy – after all, having an entire state park in the city’s limits offers Austinites a great opportunity to easily get out and explore nature.”

After a short dedication ceremony at the Upper Falls scenic lookout point at the Smith Visitor’s Center small groups will be escorted down to the tree for off-trail media opportunities. Bald cypress saplings will be available at the event with a full guided tour at 1 p.m.

July Texas Forestry Service measurements recorded Old Baldy at 103 feet tall with a circumference of 16 feet 3 inches. The tree’s root system extends roughly two school bus lengths in all directions while its trunk plays host to a colony of honey bees. The tree is alive and well on the Rock Shelter Trail at the state park.

For more information on this event contact McKinney Falls State Park Ranger Amber Conrad at or 512-415-8793.To learn more about McKinney Falls visit

Logo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife

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