CFSP-Seneca Forest Special Mgmt Area update    Dale Luthringer
   Dec 15, 2006 15:42 PST 
Bob, Will, Ents,

I spent a good part of the day today trying to finish my 'significant
white pine' tally at the park in the Seneca Forest Special Management
Area. More specifically, I was in the section of woods and steep slope
between Deer Park and Mohawk Trails. It is the section of woods on the
west side of RT36 as you go from the Park Office to the campground.

I just about have this area wrapped up. I still highly doubt I'll find
another pine in the 150ft class that we haven't already documented, but
there is a possibility to find some previously un-recorded large
hemlocks. The Seneca Hemlock, tallest hemlock known in the Northeast is
very close to this area. I was not disappointed with the day's finds.
This is a really nice section of ancient hemlock forest, one of the best
stands in the park, and for that matter I guess that would make it one
of the best in the Northeast. Found another 140ft class hemlock, as
well as four more hemlocks that make it into the 12x100 class. These
hemlocks a very fat and old for my neck of the woods. I believe all the
hemlocks I measured would easily make it into the 200 year age class,
many would make it to 300+. Sure would love to be able to confirm a
400+ via core someday, but most of these old ones have rot too far up
them for me to get a sample AND get my increment borer back out.

The day's tally follows:

Species                        CBH     Height   Comments

Black cherry                  N/A       109.8
Black cherry                  8.4        122+
Black cherry                  9.5        125.6+

Cucumbertree                7.8        115.2    trunk cracked almost
halfway through but still alive

E. hemlock                    11.7      105.1
E. hemlock                    12.9      106.3    12x100
E. hemlock                    12.2      109       12x100, trunk cracked
almost halfway through, barely alive
E. hemlock                    9.2        111.5
E. hemlock                    12         112.5    12x100
E. hemlock                    10.7      113.3
E. hemlock                    11.1      113.8
E. hemlock                    11.3      113.9
E. hemlock                    13.1      115.4    12x100
E. hemlock                    9.7        116.3
E. hemlock                    11.6      116.5
E. hemlock                    N/A       117
E. hemlock                    11.4      117.2
E. hemlock                    11.8      118.1
E. hemlock                    N/A       118.3
E. hemlock                    10.9      120
E. hemlock                    N/A       122
E. hemlock                    N/A       122.9
E. hemlock                    10.4      124.4
E. hemlock                    N/A       124.5
E. hemlock                    10.8      125.2
E. hemlock                    N/A       126
E. hemlock                    7.1        126.2
E. hemlock                    10         126.5
E. hemlock                    11.1      126.8
E. hemlock                    N/A       127.3
E. hemlock                    9.2        127.6
E. hemlock                    11         129.2
E. hemlock                    10.4      131.9
E. hemlock                    8.7        132.5
E. hemlock                    9.7        132.6
E. hemlock                    11.9      132.6
E. hemlock                    8.7        137
E. hemlock                    10.1      137.7
E. hemlock                    9.6        140.1    7th hemlock in the
                                                            park to make it the 140ft class
N. red oak                     10         108.5+

White pine                     N/A       126
White pine                     10.4      129.2
White pine                     N/A       134

Two hemlocks, the 8.7x132.5 and the 9.7x132.6, were on opposite edges of
a small canopy gap that was created when a major storm (at least for us
Lee) moved through the park I believe about 3-4 years ago. The gap was
associated with the same storm that took out the Kinzua Bridge and blew
down a large majority of the ancient hemlock stand near the parking loop
at the Tionesta Scenic Area. Blowdowns from this storm closed all roads
into/out of the park for hours, including RT36. The skeletons in the
middle of these two trees were quite amazing. Even in death these trees
still support life. I often find myself in awe of the whole cycle of
things in the forest. Took a good bit of time for me to wade through
the blowdowns amidst the fallen giants. Sure would've been nice to have
measured the other large hemlocks that used to be in between these two
trees. We actually were very close to this area on a guided hike we
took during the ENTS Rendezvous here in 2001. We were just up the hill
a little too far. Many of the downed trees were in the 10-11.5ft CBH
range, with one that would've gone over 12ft CBH.

RE: CFSP-Seneca Forest Special Mgmt Area update   John Eichholz
  Dec 16, 2006 18:35 PST 


Wow, those are some impressive Hemlocks. I hope someday to see them,
perhaps next spring. I might be able to produce a list as long as that,
but it would be the result of several day-long trips.

I have a new appreciation for hemlocks of that girth, having spent my
recent tree time searching for any that might be found in MTSF. So far
I have found 3 over 11' girth, none over 12'.

Is it true at Cook, that in prime hemlock areas, most other trees are
not that tall for their type? That seems true at Mohawk, except for in
the Trout Brook basin.

RE: CFSP-Seneca Forest Special Mgmt Area update
  Dec 17, 2006 14:14 PST 

Hi John,

I never really thought about that before... other tree not being tall in prime
hemlock areas. Let's see, I'll put my brain on "scan" mode to see if that may
have credence at Cook. Here's a list of prime hemlock areas at Cook Forest,
and other trees that reach "significant" height. In Northwestern PA, trees
that I've deemed significant in height (worthy of GPS coordinates) are:

Species       Height (>=)

white pine    140
hemlock       135
tulip         135
black cherry 130
white ash     125
Am. beech     120
N. red oak    120
white oak     120
cucumbertree 120
red maple     120
sugar maple   120
white ash     120
cottonwood    120
slippery elm 120
scarlet oak   115
black oak     115
chestnut oak 110
black birch   105
black gum     105
sassafras    100
yellow birch 100
Am. chestnut   70

Prime hemlock sites follow:

Site                    species that reach significant height
                        in hemlock stands at Cook Forest

Forest Cathedral N.A.   EH, WP, RM, AB, CT
Seneca Forest           EH, WP, BC, BG, CT, RO, AB, BB
Toms Run
Maple Drive             WP
Deer Meadows
Cook Trail              WP, WA, TT, RM, CO, BB
Swamp N.A.              RO
Ridge Camp              WP

After looking at my list, I'd suggest that for most oaks, ash, and tulip you'd
have a tough time finding trees that would reach significant height in hemlock
dominated stands. Many of the hardwoods that reach significant height in areas
listed above are very old trees, so they've had a long time to grow, or may have
taken advantage of canopy gaps. There are other hardwoods that would make the
above list since they are located in the official boundaries of these areas,
but they are not located in hemlock stands WITHIN these areas.

On the other hand, it has also been my experience at Cook that significant white
pines, black cherries, red maples, and Am. beech are often found in heavily
dominated hemlock stands. I'm guessing soil chemistry has a lot to play in


RE: CFSP-Seneca Forest Special Mgmt Area update   Robert Leverett
  Dec 18, 2006 06:08 PST 


I am, once again, in awe of the abundance of majestic eastern hemlocks
in Cook Forest. The sheer number of 10-ft girth and over, 120-foot tall
and over trees is utterly amazing. The number of 140s is especially
impressive, give that we once thought there was only one with little
hope of others. With the height champ just over 146 feet, your
documentation of the significant heights of the species reminds me of
our 140-foot march through the white ashes of Mohawk. Maybe there is one
150-foot hemlock in Cook. Dare we dream that dream?

RE: CFSP-Seneca Forest Special Mgmt Area update
  Dec 19, 2006 10:19 PST 


A 150ft hemlock at Cook would be nothing short of a miracle... but, maybe in
about 10 years we might have one.