Great Basin National Park Quarter
Alone in the middle of the Great Basin National Park quarter's reverse stands an old Bristlecone pine tree. This tree is so at home in Nevada's mountains and the Great Basin that Nevada has claimed the Bristlecone as its state tree.
Such an ancient tree (some live up to 5,000 years) would have many a story to tell...stories of long, harsh winters bending and shaping its branches, stripping its bark on all but the most protected sides; of being among the first to spring back to life after wild forest fires, becoming a wind break for their less-hardy fellow trees; of providing food and shelter for birds, squirrels, black bears, grizzly bears, and other animals.
Most trees in the white pine family can boast that they grow where other trees fail. They're often the last at the top of the tree line. They can handle stress like harsh winds on dry, rocky slopes; intense cold; radiation; drought.
For all these reasons, these trees often symbolize perseverance and tolerance, longevity and grace. They are often captured in art and photography as they themselves capture snow and regulate the downhill flow of clean water as it melts.
Hikers love to see them and appreciate how they help prevent landslides. Scientists love them for their time-capsule-like recording of events that relate to climatology, geology, atmospheric chemistry, and archaeology.
These are some of the many reasons for the Bristlecone pine to stand proud, and for Nevada to be proud of its Bristlecones. Find out more about the park and the pines on the Great Basin National Park quarter page!