Tionesta Scenic Area   NR, Cook Forest
  Nov 01, 2002 13:17 PST 
Tionesta Scenic Area (10/30/02 Warren County)

This area is located approximately 7 miles west of Kane, PA. This area has
been touted as PA's largest intact old growth forest at roughly 2000 acres...
Even though I have my reservations about this site, it is still noteworthy
and a work in progress.  It is now home to PA's current Eastern hop hornbeam
height record at 69.1+ft! The common raven, N. goshawk, and barred owl
still call this place home.
I noted 11 tree species with 2 over 120ft and 6 over 100ft with a Rucker
Index of 106.12. ...There is a fat triple stemmed black cherry ~122ft x ~16ft
(current state champ) located near a forest service road on a hilltop downstream
and from its old growth area near the "loop". A nice large rock/boulder field is
located near this area with what I believe has an Indian carving inscribed
at a good lookout point nearby. It resembles the one that was documented by
the Smithsonian at Cook Forest, yet is about 3x bigger. It is also the
first place I've ever seen snow shoe hares. A few old hemlocks are also at
this secondary site.

The days catch as follows:

Specie CBH Height

black cherry 106.5
black cherry 16.1 121.5

E. hemlock 100.2
E. hemlock 10.9 112.1
E. hemlock 11.2 110.7
E. hemlock 11.6 116.1
E. hemlock 11.9 123
E. hemlock 111.7

Am. beech 101
Am. beech 6.9 108.5
Am. beech 8.0 108.1+

E. hophornbeam 1.9 69.1+

sugar maple 6 106.5

red maple 9.6 98.4
red maple 8.3 99.1+

white ash 3.8 102.2
white ash 9.0 107.2

yellow birch 5.6 93.1+

black birch 5.3 92.9

tuliptree 7.6 119+

cucumbertree ~4.5 ~90+

Tionesta Scenic and Research Natural Area update   Dale J. Luthringer
  Dec 17, 2002 16:54 PST 
Hi Folks,

Just got back from another whir-wind tour of the Tionesta Scenic Area in
the Allegheny National Forest adjacent to Kane, PA. touted black cherry
producer capital of the world.

A recent tip from Chris Peterson, University of Georgia blowdown disturbance
aficionado, placed me in the Tionesta Research Natural Area today. This
area is adjacent to the Tionesta Scenic Area. For all intense purposes,
these areas are really connected except for the F4/F5 tornado that
separated them on May 31 1985. In essence, I was directed to go through
the swath and up and over the opposite ridgeline directly south of the
scenic area about 1 mile as the crow flies.

Even with decent directions it took me quite some time to find a section
of the research natural area that had a good distinct section of old
growth showing characters of advanced age to 300+ years.... 

I was able to find a decent section of old growth E. hemlock today in
the research natural area. I was also able to count the rings on one
downed hemlock nurse log about 15ft up from its base at least 420+ years
old. Old growth characteristics such as knarled tops, suppressed bark
characters, large standing snags and large downed logs were in abundance
here. I haven't acquired the published old growth acreage of the
research natural area, but I'll estimate that I was able to observe
about 20-50 acres of it today. There may be close to 160 acres of old
growth E. hemlock and Am. beech in this section that would show advanced
age. Most of what I observed today in the research natural area is what
I would classify as mature to very mature forest with one, possibly two
species dominating the upper age category.

I did bump the Tionesta Scenic Area Rucker Index up a notch with a
couple more finds. One is now the Pennsylvania yellow birch height
champ and my personal best so far for circumference at 9.0ft CBH x
99.1+ft high. I was also able to confirm the state height record E.
hophornbeam champ to 71.8ft. My previous shot was from directly
underneath at ~68ft. This last shot was really close since I only used
one sine triangle. the angle from my eye to base was exactly zero
degrees. That puts the Rucker Index for the Tionesta Scenic and
Research Natural Area at 108.2. That's up about 2 whole points from my
last rating. ...

The canopy of [this area of the] Research Natural Area is mostly in the range of
100-110ft. Few trees would rarely go over 110 except for hemlock, and I
estimate only an elite few may go over the 120ft mark which would most
likely be E. hemlock. 


RE: Isabel   NR, Cook Forest Env. Ed.
  Sep 18, 2003 16:39 PDT 


I just got back from the Tionesta Scenic/Research Natural Area. They got hit pretty hard with the 7/28/03 storm. The whole place is opened now from either the recent microburst or the massive American beech die-off. The old beech at Cook Forest are starting to go also, although not to the same extent as Tionesta. I traveled about 4 miles today, and couldn't find a place left with a completely closed canopy. I revisited a really nice spot (upper West Fork area?) that I was in back in April (numerous 300+ hemlocks). Blowdowns and beech mortality have completely opened up the area. I almost didn't recognize the place.

The highlight of the day was coming up on a bobcat who was walking ahead of me on the right-of-way I was on about 150 yards away. First time I've been able to see a bobcat in the wild. Quite an experience. He was walking down the right-of-way going away from me. If he saw me, he sure didn't care that I was there. Too bad I didn't have my plaster with me, could've made a nice cast.

Have you explored the West Fork side of the Tionesta Research Natural Area? I took a short walk (1/2 mile) down the ridge of the northern side of the stream where it crosses the right-of-way. There were some decent sized and old hemlock here, but couldn't find any trees that had significant height (>130ft) to them. Is there anything impressive further down the West Fork?

RE: Setting the age bar for ancient Eastern trees   Dee & Neil Pederson
  Mar 09, 2004 17:30 PST 

Eastern hemlock has been one of the primary species in the study of
paleoclimate and forest history in eastern NA. Its longevity,
tolerance of competition and relatively high sensitivity to climate
make it an ideal species to use for tree-ring analysis. Its utility
for tree-ring analysis is another reason to lament the loss of
eastern hemlock.

Ed Cook has a network of at least 42 hemlock populations from the
northern AL to Nova Scotia over to MI. His primary paper on the
species is:

Cook, E. R. and Cole, J. 1991. Predicting the response of forests in
eastern North America to future climatic change. Climatic Change

Every few months over the past few years Ed has talked about
updating his sites one last time. He just has no time these days to
do it.

The oldest intact hemlock he cored is from Tionesta, PA and dates to
1425. He says those trees were relatively small.

RE: Setting the age bar for ancient Eastern trees   Dale J. Luthringer
  Mar 10, 2004 06:06 PST 

That is incredible age for hemlock. I didn't realize that some of the
hemlocks in Tionesta could ever reach that age. I have done rough ring
counts on downed trees that were sawed off gas lines to 420+. This
particular tree wasn't all that big, maybe 30"DBH, and the cut where I
counted was about 15ft from its base. I'd love to know the section he
was in where he cored them. Ed has given me a new respect for the
Tionesta Scenic Area.