Black Mountains, NC   James Smith
  Jun 19, 2007 20:56 PDT 

I've just returned from a three-day trip to the Black Mountains of
western NC. Too tired to post much of a report, but while I had a good
time hiking, I saw some very discouraging sights concerning our
hemlocks. They're all but gone there. I took my travel trailer to the
Black Mountain campground and noticed that almost all of the hemlocks
are dead, but some were thriving. So I asked the campground host about
that, and he told me that the NFS had chosen certain trees to treat with
adelgicide. Such trees were marked with silver tags. Weird how they've
treated small and medium-sized trees in the camgpround, but allowed the
old giants there to die.

Standing on top of Horse Rock, just below Celo Knob, I could look down
on the vast countryside, through the photochemical haze courtesy of the
hydrocarbons, and realized that the once vast sea of forest had become
not so much an island as a series of relatively small plots of green.

I think the cause is lost--not just the hemlocks--but the planet's
ecosystem as a whole. I'm convinced--more now than ever before--that
it's going to all come crashing down, far sooner than later.
RE: Black Mountains
  Jun 20, 2007 05:28 PDT 

That's terrible, I guess I'll never have the Privilege to see an Old
Growth Hemlock Forest in my Lifetime! Man better wake up, before its to
late! It seems like the wrong people are running the show! 


RE: Black Mountains   Edward Frank
  Jun 20, 2007 18:52 PDT 


There are still old growth forests of hemlock in areas farther west in
Tennessee. Talk to Charles Hinton. Up here the adelgid is only about
halfway across PA. Cook Forest has the finest old-growth hemlock in
eastern Untied States. There are old growth hemlock in Michigan as
well. Much of NW Pennsylvania is dominated by hemlock and it will be
tragic when it reaches here. But for now the old-growth is intact. So
you still have a chance to see some old-growth hemlock forests, but
don't put it off too long.

Ed Frank
Re: Black Mountains   Kirk Johnson
  Jun 22, 2007 20:27 PDT 

It probably looks like that since we're in the heart of the adelgid
infestation and die-off of hemlocks. But, over time the rain will fall and
the unaffected tree species will grow and fill in the blanks. And some
generation long in the future will probably even see abundant hemlocks again
cloaking the landscape (not to mention chestnuts). But, we must have the
maximum amount of intact, protected areas such as state parks, national
parks, national forests, national wilderness areas, etc. to allow the
forests to grow and evolve over time.

Kirk Johnson

Couple of photos of Black Mtn hemlocks   James Smith
  Jun 26, 2007 19:12 PDT 

This first photo is of a huge old hemlock tree that was right across
from my campsite at the Black Mountain Campground (Pisgah National
Forest). There were a lot of these big, ancient hemlocks in the forest
around the campground--most of them all but dead:

The second picture is a telephoto shot I took from near the very top of
Horse Rock (6,200 feet above sea level on the Woody Ridge Trail). When
you stood on the cliff and looked down and out over the valleys, the
hemlocks showed up as brown patches giving up the ghost: