Vision and Roadmap

Curious about the timeline for the new Champion Tree Program? You’re in the right place!

We look forward to receiving your public nominations in the spring of 2025 – until then we’ll be hard at work refreshing the Register after the long hiatus, building up our engagement and educational programming, and spreading the word about the revitalized Champion Tree Program. Read on to see our vision for the future and our plan for the next couple years:

Vision for the Future

Abies fraseri – Fraser Fir – Virginia
Photo credit: Brian Kelley, with permission from American Forests


Champion Trees should be a touchstone for educating the public about the importance of large trees in our urban and rural landscapes. From ecosystem services to the mental and physical health benefits of trees, Champion Trees can spark the interest of children and adults about the benefits of protecting large, mature trees in our communities.


The University of Tennessee is uniquely positioned to be a hub for research about Champion Trees, including tree morphology, physiology, longevity, and function. UT Extension has a long history of bringing academic research directly into communities – the information we learn about Champion Trees benefits our society and our environment.

Pinus longaeva – Bristlecone Pine – Nevada
Photo credit: Brian Kelley, with permission from American Forests
Styphnolobium japonicum – Japanese Pagoda Tree – Massachusetts
Photo credit: Brian Kelley, with permission from American Forests


Although the Champion Tree Program does not provide any special protection to the Champion Trees, we work to empower communities to advocate for the protection of these cherished landmarks. Some cities have Tree Protection Ordinances that name Champion Trees (or other large trees) as protected species, requiring a permit to remove or substantially alter. The Champion Tree Program can provide information and support to communities seeking to protect their Champions.


These trees are more than water-pumping, air-cleaning, carbon-sequestering machines. They’re living beings that frequently are beloved parts of our communities. Many of these gentle giants are in backyards, parks, and other places where they’re known and appreciated by the people who live, work, and play around them. The Champion Tree Program has inspired a community of big tree hunters, who scour the landscapes seeking the largest specimen in the United States. The National Cadre of Tree Measurement Experts supports the work of the Champion Tree Program by developing accurate measurement techniques and providing training on these concepts and practices.

Tilia americana – American Basswood – Kentucky
Photo credit: Brian Kelley, with permission from American Forests

Our Roadmap

Summer 2024

Nominations & Record Corrections open to State Coordinators

The Champion Tree Program’s revamped database will be beta-tested by the State Coordinators who will update records, reverify records 10+ years old, and submit any nominations that have been held back during the hiatus.

Summer to Early Fall 2024

Database brought up-to-date

State Coordinators continue updating records, database refined for public use. Outreach and educational programs built and refined.

Winter 2024

Champion Tree Register made public

Updated Champion Tree Register published online, preparation for opening of public nominations.

January 2025

Nomination form opens to public

Public nominations accepted for the first time since 2021.

Early Fall 2025

Nominations vetted and Champion Trees identified

Nomination period ends, outreach and educational materials released to the public. State Coordinators begin vetting nominations.

Winter 2026

Biannual National Champion Tree Register published

2026 Champion Tree Register published.

January 2027

Nomination form reopens

Public nominations reopen in January 2027 for the 2028 Champion Tree Register.