Kelly Ridge Roadless Area  Jess
   Mar 01, 2003 19:39 PST 

        During December, on behalf of Georgia Forest Watch, I spent a
week searching the north facing coves of the Kelly Ridge Roadless Area in
northeast Georgia for exceptional trees. The relatively high elevations
in parts of the area allow typically northern species such as yellow
birch and mountain maple to grow well, and the rich, circumneutral soils
support sugar maple and an abundance of yellowwood. The soils in
conjunction with below average logging pressure have allowed for the
persistence of the areas best known feature, stands of large yellow
buckeyes. The tall trees in the attached spreadsheet, which includes
some trees measured prior to the Georgia Forest Watch survey, grow in the
selectively cut areas with the buckeyes and in rich second growth areas.
Some parts of the roadless area have never been cut, but those areas
generally occupy poor sites that cannot support tall trees.

        Supplementary information for the spreadsheet follows. Ramp
Cove, Stroud Creek, and Dismal Cove drain into Dismal Creek. Poplar Cove
and Milksick cove are in the Cynth Creek watershed. Some of the trees
listed do not grow within the legal boundaries of the roadless area, but
are not separated by any roads and share the same bedrock type as the
rest of the area. Several other yellow buckeyes ten to twelve feet in
circumference and over 120' grow in the area, but were not measured.
Young black birch over 90' tall are common along one stretch of Dismal
Creek. The tallest white ash appears to be under 100 years old, and is
in excellent condition. The tree is the first tall white ash I have seen
that is not in a cove. Instead, the tree grows in a small, well watered,
tuliptree dominated flat on the creek below Poplar Cove. The tuliptrees
in Ramp Cove and at Addis Cove Gap look to be well over 100 years old
while those on Firescald Branch and in Milksick Cove are under 100 years
old and possible under 75 years old. The tallest cucumbertrees appear to
still be growing rapidly. The black gum is one off about half a dozen
individuals grow in a rich area with abundant tuliptrees and spicebush
and some yellow buckeye. The white pines grow in a planted grove of many
trees of approximately equal size. Some smaller north facing coves
remain to be searched in the area.

Jess Riddle

Re: Kelly Ridge Roadless Area    Jess
   Mar 03, 2003 12:34 PST 
I think the roadless area covers 8000+ acres, and the area I searched is
probably closer to 9000 acres. The Southern Nathahala Wilderness is the
only area I know of in north Georgia that has the potential to beat Kelly
Ridge in terms of the Rucker Index, but rich coves of the wilderness area
are difficult to access from Georgia. The 159' tuliptree was measured a
few years at 157.8'. The 131' cherry was formerly measured at 125' and
was two inches smaller in circumference.