Big Fork Ridge, GSMNP Will Blozan
Jan 24, 2007

Hey ENTS and others, 

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Here are a few shots of a tree I climbed today that Jess found a few weeks ago. The shot with my boots was taken at 100 up where it is 93 in girth. We have not calculated the volume yet but it will likely be close to 1250 ft3. It grows on Big Fork Ridge in Cataloochee, and is ~200 yards from a slender tree I climbed yesterday that was 168.4. This tree is 55 inches diameter and has 160.8 of trunk. Note the lack of taper! This tree was over 40 inches diameter for over 90.

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This ridge system has phenomenal hemlock forest and exceedingly tall trees. So far we have measured ~80 over 150 (2X that is likely), 19 over 160 and 2 over 170. There are lots more coves to explore on this ridge, so MUCH more to come. Unfortunately, we are four years too late to save much of this ridge system. We have started treatments on the healthiest section but still expect some mortality. 

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There are many, many acres where hemlock is 80%+ of the canopy; the remainder being primarily dead American beech. Without treatment there would essentially be a 50+ acre decimated area. The few surviving trees of other species would be pummeled by huge, falling hemlocks.

Will Blozan

President, Eastern Native Tree Society
President, Appalachian Arborists, Inc.