Heart's Content   NR, Cook Forest
  Oct 25, 2002 15:01 PDT 

The Heart's Content Natural Area is a remnant old growth forest stand located within the Allegheny NF. I believe the entire natural area acreage is near 131 acres. Old growth within this section is most likely no larger than 26 acres. This parcel was once owned by the Wheeler family. They were a logging family who decided to save a small chunk of land that surrounded their hunting camp. The stand is dominated by old growth Eastern hemlock and American beech with some Eastern white pine in its canopy. There is at least one pine in the 160ft height class here. I believe Bob has better numbers on the white pine stats than I do. I intend to get up there next week and get a good idea on the site's Rucker Index. It's located about 1/2hr from Warren, PA and about 45 minutes from Cook Forest.

NW PA old growth site comparisons   NR, Cook Forest
  Nov 01, 2002 13:17 PST 
Heart's Content Natural Area (10/31/02 Warren County)

The Heart's Content Natural Area is located about 10 miles from Sheffield,
PA in the Allegheny National Forest on the Allegheny Plateau. The whole
natural area is close to 130 acres with about 20-30 acres which I'd
qualifying as old growth. The Wheeler's, renowned logging family of old,
saw to it that the small area around their logging camp was set aside for
future posterity.

Although Heart's Content has received a bad rap lately in forestry circles,
most likely due to its un-manicured state, it still has some nice white pine
and hemlock. It definitely is in a transitional state with its seral stage
ancient white pine on their way out, but being replaced by a climax hemlock
and beech old growth forest. I'd still rank it 2nd to Cook Forest in the
state in respects to its white pine.

A number of massive white pine and hemlock are here, especially a fair
number of 150ft class trees with at least 2 in the 160ft class. Bob, what
did you get for these two 160 footers? The old state champ white pine was
located here, but has passed on. It is now a remarkable snag at 13.2ft CBH
which is splitting apart from the top down as if someone has taken a froe to
it. I noted 11 tree species with 2 over 120ft and 7 over 100ft with a
Rucker Index of 113.79. All trees that made the Rucker Index were located
in the old growth section. Bob, at least three more white pine here for
your 150x12 club! I wasn't able to shoot every white pine, but I suspect
there are at least a few more pine in the 150ft class to be found.
Definitely a nice hike with quick access to old growth... a barred owl was
busy serenading me almost the entire time I was there.

The days catch as follows:

Specie CBH Height

N. red oak 9.3 94.6
N. red oak 94.4
N. red oak 11.1 98.6

white oak 7.8 108.4
white oak 8.2 101.6+
white oak 88

chestnut oak 7.5 97.6

Am. beech 98.9
Am. beech 6.2 109.8
Am. beech 7.0 109.4

white ash 88.2

cucumbertree 4.7 98.9
cucumbertree 8.8 114.1

red maple 7.4 111.5
red maple 8.2 106.4
red maple 6.8 119

black cherry 104.6
black cherry 4.6 106.4

E. hemlock 8.0 102.7
E. hemlock 9.8 120.2
E. hemlock 9.4 127.8
E. hemlock 11.0 120.1

white pine 9.9 162 (2/21/01, "Split Y Pine")
white pine 12.7 160 (directly to the right of the old state champ)
white pine 11.5 136
white pine 12.2 133
white pine 10.6 131.1
white pine 10.8 135.1
white pine 9.9 148.9
white pine 138.3
white pine 135.9
white pine 136.1
white pine 141.6
white pine 137.9
white pine 10.9 154
white pine 10.5 155.1
white pine 140.4
white pine 10.1 156.5
white pine 9.3 152.2
white pine 12.7 153.5
white pine 148.5
white pine 138.5
white pine 10.4 148.8
white pine 135.9
white pine 144.9
white pine 9.1 150.1
white pine 12.5 154.2
white pine 9.8 157.4
white pine 10.4 153.7
white pine 10.1 152.9
white pine 11.3 144.5
white pine 12.5 135.5

I've attached an excel spreadsheet for a breakdown of the Rucker Index
between sites.

PA Natural Area tall trees and site comparisons   Dale J. Luthringer
  Dec 05, 2002 13:28 PST 

Hi Folks,

Iíve finally got all my tall tree data organized for the state of
Pennsylvania. I no longer have data backlogged to the beginning of
October. After my recent whirlwind tour of the Smokies, PAís natural
areas, and getting paperwork finished for the park, I finally had time
to sit down at the computer and start poking in and rechecking my
results. Iíve attached an excel spreadsheet for those who are
interested in current tree height records for Pennsylvania and Rucker
Index comparisons for some of our natural areas.

First a short description of each PA natural area Iíve had a chance to
visit over the last 2 months.

Heartís Content was a treat. Bob and I have noted 2 pines in the 160ft
class. The old state champ white pine still lingers at 13.2ft CBH, but
its top is now busted off and splitting down from the top as if God had
taken a froe to it. Its white pine tally to date is as follows:

Height Class      # trees
130                                      12
140                                      10
150                                      14
160                                        2

It is definitely in a transitional phase, with the seral stage white
pine are on their way out, making way for the shade tolerant Am. beech
and E. hemlock. I even found another massive pine lurking off the
beaten path and downstream from the heart of the area that registered at
12.5ft CBH x 154.2ft high and 1927.5 ENTS points.

I was really surprised with the assortment of tall pines at Anderís Run
with such a small site, less than 20acres of old growth. I didnít
except to find a monster white pine at 12.9ft CBH x 163.8ft high! A
true monster with 2113 ENTS points which I believe is only 2nd in size
to the Seneca Pine of Cook Forest at 2132 ENTS points. Itís white pine
tally to date as follows:

Height Class      # trees
110                   1
120                   1
130                   6
140                   7
150                   3
160                   1

Heart's Content   Ernie Ostuno
  Aug16, 2004
Heart's Content Scenic Area, PA:  Heart's Content Scenic Area in Warren County, PA is indeed aptly named for those who appreciate big trees. In the southwest part of the area of old growth are two massive white pine with reddish plated bark, growing less than 50 feet apart. I refer to them as "The Twins" because of their similarity in size and appearance.I think Dale measured these two to about 154-55 feet tall. They are probably among the most impressive examples of ancient white pine I have seen anywhere. This is the southernmost one.
Hearts Content Scenic Area, PA:  Here the southernmost white pine is seen in the foreground with the northern one in the distance. After viewing these two and others in the stand of huge white pine along the stretch of trail near here, I was inspired to write "Old growth forests are among nature's most eloquent testimonials to the passage of time."
View of several hemlocks and beech along the path at Heart's Content. Heavy browsing by deer resulted in a lack of young trees and a lot of ferns. I have heard that deer fencing has resulted in some increase in tree seedlings in recent years. Beech bark disease was here, but hemlock wooly adelgids were not in 1999.