In honor of the start of the outdoor season, a trio of articles on things natural.

Tree size matters. Washington boasts a bigger Sitka spruce than Oregon. The record-holding Quinault Rainforest tree is actually 13 feet shorter than the giant on the Oregon coast, but it has a bigger girth and “crown spread.” Turns out, calculating tree size is tricky—and controversial.

Rabbit redux. In another story of the sister states, biologists at the Oregon Zoo are busy breeding Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits for release into the wild. Washington’s last remaining population became functionally extinct this year. The captive-bred rabbits will actually be borrowing 1/4 to 1/8 of their genetics from the similar Great Basin pygmy rabbit.

Unhappy trails. A great op-ed from Washington Trails Association in today’s Seattle Times, detailing the pathetic state of funding for the trails that help us explore the Northwest’s awe-inspiring natural heritage. I’ve harped on this issue onceortwice.