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.


The Joyce Kilmer Natural Area had no tree heights of any significance.
This area encompasses 77acres which is most likely entirely old growth.
It is located just below a ridgeline, ~2000-2300ft elevation, on a very
steep slope. The old growth runs parallel to the ridge about ľ mile
down from top. The trail through this area is straight uphill, unless
you want to come in from the top on a very rarely used and very rough
access road. The only thing here is that you have to walk back up to
get out. I still couldnít tell which was harder, coming down or going
up. Needless to say I started from the top and worked my way down. I
noted hemlock wooly adelgid egg sacs at the ridgetop. This area was
unique in that it reminded me of the knarly tops on the old growth E.
hemlock in the Smokies. My best way to describe this stunted old growth
site, would be to take the top 65ft of a Smokies old growth hemlock and
stick it in the ground. Thatís exactly what this site looked like. I
also noted stunted pitch pine and white pine in this area. Soil was a
very thin covering over a boulder field.