Alum Cave Bluff Trail, Mount LeConte, TN, GSMNP   Will Blozan
  May 16, 2004 10:21 PDT 
Hey folks,

I want to get some trip reports out as I know many of you are awaiting the news. I have not been out much lately and have been super busy with work and family. Fortunately, some of my best excursions lately have been work related, namely the Joyce Kilmer and Kelsey Tract old-growth hemlock climbs and last week a trip to Mt. LeConte in the Smokies to collect Fraser fir cuttings.

Alum Cave Bluff Trail, Mount LeConte, TN, GSMNP

I ascended this trail for the first time last week. I have always avoided it due to the intense crowds associated with the hike to the caves and Mount LeConte. However, I was being paid so it was much more tolerable, and in fact we only saw four people the entire way up! It was a gorgeous day- foggy on the way up and clear and sharp on the way down. In spite of my desire to end the trip as soon as possible, I spotted some nice red spruce on the way up that I just HAD to measure on the way down. After all, I needed to rest, right?

~11' X 143.4'
Red spruce
8' X 143.4'
7'2" X 139.1'
11'1" X 154.7' New GRSM and Eastern height record, near National Champion!

I confirmed this height from ~180 degree differing locations with a "pole" for the base; 154.6' and 154.7'. I was also able to get some incredible composite shots of the entire tree that I will send to Ed Frank to post. 

This tree now brings the GRSM Rucker Index up to 163.34, which is about 3.4 points shy of the ENTIRE Eastern US Rucker Index. Jess Riddle has a new addition of a existing RI species for the Eastern Rucker that I hope he will soon confirm and post.

That's all for now. The tree hunting season has basically closed in with the spring canopy. I may try to do some volume climbs before it gets too hot and buggy. I will be in northern Ohio the end of next week so I hope to at least confirm the giant cottonwoods I saw near Detroit, Michigan while I am there.

I'm sure I will let you all know...eventually...;)

Will Blozan
President, Eastern Native Tree Society
ISA Certified Arborist


Soopa Spruce   Robert Leverett
  May 17, 2004 05:52 PDT 


   With the abundant talent that ENTS puts into big tree-tall tree
documentation, with our numerous internet posts, and with our incredible
website (thanks again, Ed) it is easy for us to become saturated with
numbers, comparisons, and discussions about measurements. And to add to
the deluge of numbers, we now have Will Blozan catching up with his tree
measurements - and when he catches up, watch out. It is Katy bar the

   How does Will's latest conquest, the monster red spruce affect our
notions about the best the species can do? Well, to put Will's new
height champ into perspective, it would impress all of us in the
Northeast if it were a white pine, but a red spruce? Okay, here is the
emotional impact. If we broke a height of 140 and a circumference of 10
feet in the Northeast, the rest of you from as far away as 1000 miles
would hear ape calls from the direction of north by east. What would
happen, were we to break 150? We would all collapse, revert to spirit,
and ascend into that great forest in the sky, singing praises to the
Creator. We would be in rapture for a 1000 years. That's what would
happen. So, it's important to put these things into proper perspective
and perhaps the intensity of our emotional reactions serves best to
relate the importance of a new discovery.
    To come back down to Earth and put a numbers perspective on Will's
confirmation, red spruce in the Northeast can be stately, but seldom
imposing. We can reach 8 feet in circumference and 105 feet in height
in the Adirondacks - on occasion. In Massachusetts, we can reach 8 feet
in circumference and 120 feet in height - on occasion, with the absolute
max at 129. New Hampshire red spruce are seldom impressive. Overall,
I've been disappointed. However, I've seen evidence that in girth, the
Green Mountains have some fairly large red spruce. I would imagine that
in historical times, on occasion, a 9-footer reaching to 110 feet could
be found. Many 7-foot circumference, 100-foot spruces could have been
found and 6-foot circumference, 90-foot tall spruces would have been
common as weeds.
     So where does Will's 11.1' circumference and 154.7' in height red
spruce weigh in? Off the scales, folks. Off the scales. Off the bloody
scales! Will anyone but ENTS members get excited or even acknowledge its
existence? Not now, but that gives us good reason to increase the volume
of the ENTS voice as the real voice of the trees.
     Again, congratulations Will. That was one heck of a find.


Will Blozan wrote:
  ENTS, here is a small scan of the new height record red spruce.

Robert T. Leverett
Cofounder, Eastern Native Tree Society