Grassy Mountain    Jess
   Jan 19, 2003 11:14 PST 
On the last day of last year I went out with some people from Georgia
Forest Watch, a non-profit organization that monitors Forest Service
activities on the Chattahoochee NF, to look at a purported old growth
stand on the north side of Grassy Mountain. The mountain is a 3692' peak
on the western edge of the Cohutta Mountains in north central Georgia.
The mountain has a fire tower on top and the flat east side of has a lake
and campground, but the other slopes of the mountain do not have any
roads. We took the road towards the fire tower, and dropped down the
north side of the mountain. We quickly entered a ravine with an abundance
of old trees and rhododendron. Tuliptree, hemlock, northern red oak,
black cherry, and black gum were all common in the canopy. Tuliptree and
hemlock don't reach their full potential at the site, but one individual
of the latter species was 12'10" cbh. The black gum were routinely seven
or eight feet cbh, and looked to be quite old. A 9'8" cbh individual in
the ravine is the second largest of the species I've seen on the NF.
Other trees of note in the ravine included a 9'4" cbh black cherry and
10'8" and 11'5" chestnut oaks.

After descending most of the length of the ravine, we went up a side
ravine and over a ridge into a cove that was reported to have a large
northern red oak. The tip turned out not be a wild goose chase since the
tree was 13'6.5" cbh and one of the most voluminous northern red oaks I've
seen in north Georgia. The tree goes up 40 or 50 feet before splitting
into two leaders and reaching a total height of 120'+. Another northern
red oak in the same vicinity may be over 130' and one of the tallest in
Georgia. Within sight of the oak is a ~115', 9'2" cbh black cherry. Going
down the open cove to the stream the drains the slope, we saw an 11'3" cbh
chestnut that is still standing. Going down the stream towards a road we
stumbled across a pair of large chestnut oaks, the larger of which was
13'4" cbh. Unfortunately, this largest chestnut oak AI know of in north
Georgia has a broken crown. The forest will probably turn out to be one
of the largest uncut stands in north Georgia, and large portions of the
tract have not been searched for big trees yet.

Jess Riddle