McConnells Mill State Park - PA    Anthony Kelly
   Mar 22, 2006 17:32 PST 


I've made three more measuring trips to McConnells Mill State Park in
Western Pennsylvania (Saturday 3/4/06, Sunday 3/12/06, and Sunday 3/19/06).
Here's what I found:

American Basswood (?) n/a 126.0'*

Black Cherry n/a 108.2'
Black Cherry n/a 116.3'

Black Gum 5'10" 91.8'
Black Gum 7'6" 98.1'
Black Gum 6'4" 110.6'*

Black Walnut 10'3" 103.1'

Cucumbertree n/a 123.0'

Shagbark Hickory 7'1" 107.2'
Shagbark Hickory 7'0" 109.5'
Shagbark Hickory 5'1" 110.6'
Shagbark Hickory 7'1" 118.4'*

Sugar Maple 8'4" 108.5'
Sugar Maple n/a 121.7'

Sycamore n/a 124.8'

Tulip Poplar 9'10" 104.0'
Tulip Poplar 12'8" 120.7'
Tulip Poplar n/a 133.3'
Tulip Poplar n/a 136.0'
Tulip Poplar 11'6" 136.4'
Tulip Poplar n/a 140.1'
Tulip Poplar n/a 141.6'

White Ash 10'11" 116.3'
White Ash n/a 129.4'

The trees with heights marked with the "*" either tie or break the previous
PA height records.

I'm not 100% sure that the 126.0' tree is an American Basswood, so I have to
put a question mark beside that one. (I'd say I'm 90% that that's what it
is, though.) The PA height record listed on the 5/17/05 PA Big Tall Tree
Tally on the ENTS website lists 123.2' as the record. Hopefully, its leaves
will verify it as an American Basswood in the spring.

The 5/17 PA Big Tall Tree Tally also lists these height records:

Black Gum 109.5'
Shagbark Hickory 118.2'

The McConnells Mill black gum (110.6') tops the old record by 1.1ft.
The McConnells Mill Shagbark (118.4) essentially ties the old PA record.

It's also worth noting that the 5/17 PA Big Tall Tree Tally lists the PA
Sugar Maple height record at 123.4'. The Sugar Maple listed above measures
121.7', only 1.7' short of the record. I'd like to say that newer more
careful measurements might reveal that tree to be taller, but I had a good
view of its top and am pretty sure I got the highest twigs.

This past Sunday was the first time I was able to get down into the Slippery
Rock Gorge to the Walnut Flats area since I got my laser. During my previous
trips to this area of the park I was disappointed because I didn't find any
large-girthed trees there. It turns out that this small flood plain
contains some very tall (if not fat) trees. The two 140+ tulips, the
sycamore, the taller sugar maple, the American basswood, and the black
walnut on the list are down there along with several others that I didn't
have time to measure. This will probably be the first area I hit on my next

Along with the trees measured on my previous visits and an E. Hemlock
measured by Dale Lutheringer along the Kildoo Trail, we now have heights on
ten tree species for a complete McConnells Mill Rucker Index:

Tulip Poplar 10'9"       146.0'
Cucumbertree 10'2"       130.3'*
White Ash n/a          129.4'
Am Basswood(?) n/a          126.0'*
Sycamore n/a          124.8'
E. Hemlock n/a          122.8'
Sugar Maple n/a          121.7'
Am Beach 9'3"         121.0'
Shagbark Hickory 7'1"         118.4'*
Black Cherry n/a          116.3'

Rucker Index = 125.67

As of yet, I've only measured the heights of two red oaks, two black
cherries, two white ashes, one sycamore, and one American basswood. So, it's
highly likely that I'll find taller examples of each of these species,
raising the McConnells Mill Rucker Index.

Anthony Kelly

mcconnells Mill State Park - PA  Dale Luthringer

You're not the only one that hasn't been very active lately. I've got a
huge backlog that I'm trying to catch up on, while trying to complete
other responsibilities as well. I'm just about to break into tallying
up my September 2005 data. I usually keep up to date, but I really
slacked this last year. I guess all the 60+ hour weeks just finally
started to add up.

I didn't see (or possibly remember) your West Park data. I put your
~15x113.5 tulip in our state 12x100 list. That's a dandy little tulip
you got there. That Am. Elm you got there is impressive also. The
largest I have on the PA state list so far is the past state champ Am.
Elm located in Wellsboro, PA at 16ft CBH x 94.7ft high. If you get a
crown measurement for your West Park elm, be sure to send it to Scott
Wade to nominate for possible PA co-champ status. We certainly do not
have many elm on record that break 15ft CBH. That's a real whopper.

What's a Carolina poplar? Is that another name for Eastern cottonwood?
Did you get a height for that puppy? A 15ft CBH cottonwood is not too
shabby either!

I put your 12.8x120.7 McConnells Mills tulip in our 12x100 database too.

"Indegent type"... yes, I know the feeling. Except it was with a skinny
dipper in Zoar Valley, NY at place called 'Skinny Dip Flats' no less!

You've really found some dandy trees at McConnells Mills. Those cukes
and tulips are just fantastic finds for Western PA! Something like this
I almost expect to hear from Fairmont Park near Philly, but not in over
in our neck of the woods. We just don't have much data yet for
southwestern PA. Looks like you hit a gold mine that'll keep you busy
digging for quite some time.

That tall black gum is superb! You definitely blew away the old height
record! You now have the tallest known specimen in the entire NE US!!!

Did you get a circumference yet for your new cucumbertree (130.3ft)
height record yet?

Nice shagbark find too! Man, you're on a roll, dude! I still think we
could find a 130 footer somewhere in PA. I just haven't gotten into a
prime stand situation yet though. 

Here's some of my initial McConnells Mills data. I may have more to add
once I finish entering all my backlogged data. If I come across more,
I'll be sure to send that as well. You might as well keep the master
list for McConnells Mill. You should easily have 10 trees for an RI
once you take a look through what I've got. As we collect more data,
we'll continue to refine it and keep creeping that Rucker Index up. I
think you'll definitely be in the solid lower 120's once you compute the
initial RI. Once we flesh out the data, I wouldn't believe it
impossible to compute an RI in the very low 130's when all is said and

Great Job, Tony!


McConnells Mills Data
Dale Luthringer

Species CBH Height Site

Am. Basswood N/A 69.1+ road directly below mill
Am. Basswood N/A 101.6+ Kildoo Trail north side

Am. Beech 8.8 111.6+ Kildoo Trail north side

Bitternut hickory 3.4 104.9 Kildoo Trail south side

Black cherry N/A 98.6+ Kildoo Trail north side

Black walnut 4.4 78.1+ Kildoo Trail north side

Cucumbertree 4.8 99.1+ Kildoo Trail south side
Cucumbertree N/A 102.9 Kildoo Trail north side

E. hemlock N/A 116.2 Kildoo Trail north side
E. hemlock N/A 122.8 Kildoo Trail north side

N. red oak N/A 92.2 Kildoo Trail north side

Slippery elm N/A 89.1+ road directly below mill
Slippery elm N/A 99.6+ road directly below mill

Sugar maple N/A 100.3 Kildoo Trail north side

Sycamore 5.6 88.8 Kildoo Trail south side
Sycamore N/A 98.3 Kildoo Trail north side
Sycamore N/A 106.8 Kildoo Trail north side

Tuliptree 10 129.1+ Kildoo Trail north side
Tuliptree N/A 130 road directly below mill

White ash 3.6 81.1+ Kildoo Trail south side

White oak N/A 95.1 Kildoo Trail north side