The Survivor is a Pond Cypress tree situated within Shangri La. For at least 1,200 years, this old tree has been nurtured by the waters of Adams Bayou, which flows through the middle of Orange. This resilient tree, not normally found in Texas, has “survived” centuries of diseases, axes and storms, including the most recent devastation from Hurricane Rita in 2005. Most Pond Cypress trees are found along the eastern coast of the U.S., as far west as New Orleans, and they are closely related to the Redwoods of California.
Dr. Ira Nelson, of the University of Southwestern Louisiana, previously determined The Survivor was approximately 1,200 years old by counting the growth rings of a core sample. This makes Shangri La’s tree older than the state of Texas, the United States of America, Christopher Columbus, and even famous historical figures like Shakespeare and Galileo. The Survivor received its distinctive name in 1998, when Shangri La’s Nature Classroom hosted a school contest to name the special tree. In 1998 and again in 2003, it was certified as a Champion Tree through The Texas Big Tree Registry.
Today, visitors are able to see The Survivor up close as they travel via boat down Adams Bayou.