Seeger Natural area, Pa
06, 2002 10:44 PST
Ernie Ostuno Gallery
For those who are interested in learning more about the
Seeger Natural Area, check out Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical
121: 277-291 (1994), where my good friend Greg Nowacki along
Abrams, did a detailed analysis of that forest. There are some
hemlocks there and some massive downed hemlocks as well. Greg
back to 1510. The site is definitely worth
Thanks Sincerely, DAVE
David A. Orwig, Ph.D.
Harvard University 978-724-3302
Harvard Forest Web
P.O. Box 68
Petersham, MA 01366
Seeger Natural Area
November 18, 2002 7:49 PM
I'm not totally sure that I found your tuliptree today. I found
four tulips over 130, but the highest I could accurately get was
134.7 at 8.9ft CBH.
I started on the left side of the loop going upstream (left side
of stream). I crossed the first bridge over a small stream and
was hit by a ton of rocks with the thick rhodes and knarly black
gum and hemlock. There was a small patch of tulips on the left
side of the path, maybe four. I wasn't able to measure these
accurately due to the thick rhodo cover, but I did get what I
believed to be the highest in this group at 124.4+ft at 6.8ft
I proceeded over the next bridge that went half way across the
first part of the larger stream, the water was up, so now I was
on an "island". Now just on the right after this
second bridge were 2 tall tulips just off the path a couple of
yards. I'm hoping one of these trees were the one you were
talking about. The fatter one at 8.9ft CBH averaged out at
134.7ft (135.1, 134.6, 134.5). The slender one right beside it
went to 132.1+ft at 6.5ft CBH. The only shot I could get for
this one was directly underneath. Matter of fact, both were
132.1+ft from underneath. The rhodes were so thick here... it
reminded me of the Smokies. I practically had to roll on top of
them. The only way I could get the 8.9ft CBH tree was to get up
on top of two rhodes (sat on one, with my feet on the other)
above the forest floor. This is the first time I used this
formula: sin top - sin bottom + distance from paper to base.
Since I didn't bring a pole, I tagged a piece of paper on the
trunk above the rhodes so I could get a trunk measurement.
I couldn't shoot through the canopy to get all of the tops on
either of these. I even tried going across the stream and shoot
down on them from the opposite steep bank, but to no avail. I
even thought of doing a Will move by climbing up another nearby
tree, but there weren't any branches down low enough, and I
forgot to bring my levitation boots. I've yet to
"evolve" hairy apelike arms to shimmy up trees yet...
Will's got us beat on that.
My tulip tally as follows:
Specie CBH Height Est.
E. white pine 9.5 134.9 134.9
tuliptree 8.9 134.7 140
E. hemlock 11.2 114.9 120
white ash 5.7 111.1 115
N. red oak 8.8 108.1+ 110
white oak 6.9 108.1+ 110
red maple 5.8 105.1+ 110
cucumbertree 5.2 102.2 105
chestnut oak 8 96.1+ 100
black gum 6.6 82.1+ 90
PA Natural Area Comparison via Rucker Index
Index Est. Acres old growth
reported acres old growth
Cook Forest 134.05 1500 171
Ander's Run 118.65 20 ~50
Heart's Content 113.79 25 131
Alan Seeger 109.73 20 118
Tionesta 106.12 20 4000
Notice how Cook and Tionesta kind of did the 'flip-flop'? I
still get people telling me how great Tionesta and Seeger is
over Cook. Well, now I can say I've been to Alan Seeger and can
put that argument to rest.
Am I missing something at Ander's Run? Are they hiding more old
growth upstream from the bridge crossings, or is this another
case of hype? I went upstream on the right side for a bit until
I thought I ran out of old growth. I found no old growth white
pine, but the knarly hemlock and black gum made me feel better.
The best representation of old growth I was able to find were at
the bridge crossings.
Thanks for your directions to this site. It really helped me
nail down the search. I probably spent a good two hours trying
to get decent heights on these tulips. They're probably a bit
higher, but I just couldn't find a spot except from
underneath... some I didn't even want to try to get underneath,
I didn't bring my swimming gear!
Natural Area tall trees and site comparisons
05, 2002 13:28 PST
I’ve finally got all my tall tree data organized for the state
Pennsylvania. I no longer have data backlogged to the beginning
October. After my recent whirlwind tour of the Smokies, PA’s
areas, and getting paperwork finished for the park, I finally
to sit down at the computer and start poking in and rechecking
results. I’ve attached an excel spreadsheet for those who are
interested in current tree height records for Pennsylvania and
Index comparisons for some of our natural areas.
First a short description of each PA natural area I’ve had a
visit over the last 2 months.
The Alan Seeger Natural Area is a special place at only
There were a good number of very knarly black gums, probably the
I’ve had the pleasure of observing to date, not to mention the
E. hemlock. It had a very thick rhododendron understory. A small
stream carves its way through the site. Besides the path, it
probably be the next easiest way through this site. Will and Bob
rate it on a scale of 1-10 better than I, but the rhodes were
than what I observed on my recent trip with Will in the Smokies.
think Will rated the worst of what we went through at 4, which I
was pretty bad, maybe I’d give Alan Seeger a modest 5 on the
rhodo-surfing scale. I’d probably put it to 7 or 8 with my
experience in the sport of rhodo surfing. Bob’s superb
enabled me to find his PA tuliptree height champion here at
wasn’t able to squeeze my laser through the canopy to find his
though. My best shot was while balancing precariously on top of
large rhodes. Will would have been proud… it was a great start
‘young grasshopper’. I don’t think I’ll ever graduate to
perfected bear hug tree scaling technique. Come to Cook Forest
spring for your next lesson as he scales the Seneca Pine at
Seeger Natural Area
19, 2002 06:03 PST
Good show. You definitely found the trees. I
had a heck of a time with that tuliptree. I got 134's and 135's
mostly. but luck would have it that I found a spot where the far
right side and well back into the crown gave me the 137 bounces.
About 1 out of every 3.
With respect to Tionesta and Alan Seeger
being touted as better than Cook Forest, by some, we just have
to expect those kinds of judgments. They are the impressions of
uncalibrated eyes. Happens all the time. That's why there is an
ENTS and you are a very important part of it, my friend.
It isn't that I don't appreciate tips
from others and am always courteous when dealing with the
innocent perceptions of others, it is just that fine tuning the
eye to vertical differences of 5 to 10 feet at hypotenuse
distances of 100 to 200 feet, isn't something that everybody is
trying to master. You get good at what you reinforce. Let's face
it. This is our thing. It's just that simple.
On a slightly different topic, Bob Van
Pelt's mention of the 8 degree leaner prompted me to calculate
the height error from eye level to base that one might make if
the trunk leans in the direction of the viewer. Suppose the
amount of trunk below eye level is 30 feet, the angle from the
eye to the base is 16 degrees, and at 30 feet up, the trunk is 4
feet closer to the viewer than it would be were there no lean.
Suppose the distance to the leaning trunk is lasered at 100 feet
at eye level. The calculation of the height from eye level to
base will be 28.9 feet. Thus, the amount of under-calculation
will be 1.1 feet. From my experience, this is a pretty severe
error for trunk to base calculations that are based on tangents.
More commonly, the eye to base error on leaning trees is under a
One can randomly check on leans of trees
on slopes where a good eye to base distance can be obtained. If
one has the angle and distance to the base (below eye level),
then the cosine of the angle to the base times the distance to
the base gives the horizontal distance from the eye to a
vertical trunk. Shoot the distance to the trunk at eye level,
moving forward or backward to a point of laser changeover then
add or subtract the distance to the original point of
measurement. Otherwise you could be up to 3 feet off on this
measurement. You now have a good calculation of the eye level
distance to trunk. There is a chance of compounding errors from
such measurements, but one can certainly detect strong leans
from this method and allow one to develop a feel for the
averages. I'm sure Bob Van Pelt has this kind of analysis down
to a science appropriate to the fine scientist that he is.
Alan Seeger pub
08, 2004 06:00 PDT
Dale, the pub you are referring to concerning the Alan Seeger
Abrams 1994. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical
club 121: 277-291. A great relic of the past..
hemlocks in Pa
19, 2005 17:37 PDT
Bob and I have spent considerable time at Alan Seeger Natural
There was a really massive hemlock there that approached the
you list, but I believe it blew over a number of years ago. It
right on the path towards the back loop and was quite large.
about right for its age. I know folks on this list have
coring data at this site.
I believe Bob and I have measured everything in there of
Here’s what we have for some big/tall tree stats at Alan
Alan Seeger Natural Area
Species CBH Height
Tuliptree 8.9 137.7 111.13
Tuliptree 10.4 126.9
E. white pine 8.6 137.6
E. white pine 9.5 134.9
E. hemlock 11.2 118.2
White ash 5.7 111.1
N. red oak 8.8 108.1+
White oak 6.9 108.1+
White oak 9.2 100.5
Red maple 5.8 105.1+
Cucumbertree 5.2 102.2
Chestnut oak 8 96.1+
Black gum 6.6 87.1+
The rhodes are very thick in there in spots, really reminded me
Smokies in miniature. Black gums are ancient here also. Probably
one of the finest stand of old growth black gum in the state, at
the best that I’ve seen in Western PA. Nearby Detweiler Run
Area has trees that are probably every bit as old as Anders Run.
Detweiler is a much wilder place. I did some serious rhodo
there, would’ve been easier with my surfboard…