McConnells Mill State Park, PA    Anthony Kelly
   Jan 25, 2006 19:53 PST 


I made a post Dec 2, 2005 concerning an old-growth area I'd found in
McConnells Mill State Park in Western Pennsylvania near the town of
Portersville. The park contains the very scenic, steep-sided Slippery Rock
Creek Gorge in and around which are scattered numerous stands of old-growth.
In that Dec 2 posting, my first to the ENTS list, I listed girth
measurements for a number of trees, but no heights. At the time I had
neither a laser rangefinder nor a clinometer.

In mid-December I purchased a Nikon Monarch 800 laser rangefinder and a
Suunto clinometer. I spent the most of my free time over the Christmas/New
Year's week practicing using both and studying Will Blozan's "Tree Measuring
Guidelines of the Eastern Native Tree Society."
By Saturday, January 7th I felt confident enough to take my laser and
clinometer to McConnells Mill to get height measurements on some of the
trees I'd found on my many earlier visits. I went back the next day Sunday,
January 8th and again this past Sunday, January 22.

I mostly measured trees that I remembered as being particularly tall, most
of them tulip poplars. There are still plenty other tall trees there that I
haven't got to yet.

Red Oak       13'9" 103.5'   (Big one from my pictures)
Red Oak       12'2"    112.9'

Tulip Poplar 10'11"    148.3' (146.1')
Tulip Poplar 6'3"      138.6'
Tulip Poplar n/a       137.8'
Tulip Poplar 9'8"      133.9'
Tulip Poplar 10'10"    130.9'
Tulip Poplar 9'8"      129.6'
Tulip Poplar 6'9"      127.5'
Tulip Poplar 9'8"      125.5'
Tulip Poplar n/a       125.1'
Tulip Poplar n/a       122.6'
Tulip Poplar 10'0"     121.7'
Tulip Poplar 9'5"      113.3'
Tulip Poplar 9'6"      108.5' (snag)

White Oak     11'1"     99.7'
White Oak     11'6"     95.1'
White Oak     11'4"     91.4'

The three tallest tulips I didn't get to until darkness was fast setting in.
Considering their great height I would have prefered to take several
measurements of each. They are about a mile's walk through the woods from
where I parked, so I only had time to make a single measurement of all but
the tallest one. That tree I measured twice. First getting 146.1', then
148.3'. The two measurements were done from different positions and probably
off of different branches. Due to the haste in which I had to measure the
three trees, consider these height numbers to be tentative.

I should qualify all of the above measurements by saying that I am still a
beginner with a number of questions regarding the finer points of tree
measuring technique. I also have to say that my laser is as yet
uncalibrated. (I have been scrupulous, though, about only taking readings at
clickover points.) The above said, however, barring some significant
problem with my laser, I feel confident that these height measurements
represent at least fairly good "ballpark" figures.

I have to thank Dale Luthringer for answering many of my measuring
questions through a number of emails that we've exchanged. He's given me
reassurance on a number points.

I will be returning to McConnells Mill this coming Saturday, January 22 with
Ed Frank and Carl Harting. I look forward to remeasuring some of these
trees with them. It will be a chance to check the accuracy of my previous
measurements and sharpen my measuring skills. Also, there is a tall
cucumbertree not on the above list whose I height I'd like them to verify
before I post it. The trip will also be a chance to show some other ENTS
people this amazing place.

I look forward to posting the results of our trip.

Anthony Kelly