Mill Creek Pine   Will Blozan
  Mar 23, 2007 16:29 PST 

This week Jess Riddle and I spent three days exploring streams in the Cades
Cove, TN area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We were on a hunt
for big hemlocks for the Tsuga Search Project. One side trip after a day of
searching was a visit to the Mill Creek Pine, a white pine Michael Davie and
I first measured many years ago on Mill Creek just south of the Cades Cove.
I have wanted to return since the monocular technique has been developed to
measure tree volume. Being over 13 feet in girth and nearly 150' tall I
suspected it may be one of the largest white pines in the park.

We found the tree in very good shape with a full crown. DBH was 13'9" and it
terminated at a tip 148.8 feet high. The lower 16-18 feet was a slow tapered
column of wood after which it began a moderate taper. The taper of the trunk
was more pronounced that that of a typical hemlock, but the monocular still
indicated a wood volume of 929 cubes. Not bad for the first white pine
modeled in the park, but it is fairly certain there is not a 1000 cubic foot
white pine to be found in the Smokies. However, there are still more places
to look.

The Zahner Pine, a huge tree near Highlands, North Carolina, will no doubt
exceed 1000 cubic feet and may very well set the first volume benchmark to
be challenged by the northeastern and mid-western pines. This immense pine
is 13'10" in girth and over 160 feet tall. It appears to lose little girth
for the first 50 feet, a trunk feature that will rack up the cubes! A climb
of this tree is forthcoming- more to come.

Will Blozan

President, Eastern Native Tree Society

President, Appalachian Arborists, Inc.