Overflow Creek Rd., GA    ecri-@juno.com
   Aug 25, 2005 12:22 PDT 

In the northeastern corner of Georgia, Overflow Creek Road roughly
Parallels the West Fork of the Chattooga River and one of the former's
major tributaries. The road passes through one of the least roaded
sections of the Chattahoochee National Forest, and traverses a section of
the most extensive white pine forest in Georgia. Chestnut oak and other
hardwoods dominate some of the drier slopes in the region, but white pine
is generally ubiquitous in the upper Chattooga watershed. That scenario
certainly holds true along Overflow Creek Road. White pine, hemlock, and
shortleaf pine flank streamside sections of the road, and scarlet oak,
tuliptree, red maple and white oak help white pine shade the road on

When driving up from the bottom of the road, the first exception to that
pattern occurs after approximately three miles in the vicinity of Owl
Gap. While white pine still frequently on the upper slopes, the species
does not crowd the drainage flowing southeast from the gap. As occurs in
most second-growth moist coves in the Chattahoochee NF, tuliptree
constitutes most of the overystory, but an unusual mix of other species
fill out the canopy. Mockernut hickory, and green ash offer competition
to many of the tuliptrees, white oak grows slightly farther up the
slopes. Green ash in the southeast usually occurs on extremely rich
sites at elevations far below the cove's 2000'. The paw paw rising
directly out tangles of dog-hobble in the understory also presents an odd
pairing of species commonly associated with circumneutral and acidic
soils respectively. Dog-hobble only occurs in small patches along the
stream, and ferns, including maidenhair, christmas, broad leaf beech, and
new york, cover the forest floor. In addition to species composition,
the cove contrasts structurally with the surrounding forest. While the
overall canopy heights are similar, the white pines frequently exceed
eight feet cbh, but few trees in the hardwood cove exceed six feet.

Pines on gentle slopes on West Fork Chattooga River
Species        Cbh        Height
Shortleaf      2'6"        107'+        134:1 HDR
Shortleaf      4'2"        116.3'
Shortleaf      3'4.5"     124.2'        116:1 HDR
White           5'2"        134.0'        81:1 HDR (on tributary stream)
White           NA        139.2'
White           NA        150.8'

Cove SE of Owl Gap
Species                        Cbh        Height
Ash, Green                 5'0"         121.3'+
Ash, Green                 4'10"       125.2'
Hickory, Mockernut 3'3"         117.0'        113:1 HDR
Hickory, Mockernut 6'5"         120.8'
Hickory, Pignut         NA          128.9'
Oak, Chestnut           5'8"          120.9'        State height record
Oak, Northern Red    6'6"          114.9'
Oak, White                NA           120.8'
Pine, Shortleaf           3'1"          106.4'        108:1 HDR
Pine, White               7'11"         141.2'

For many of the species at Owl Gap, the heights do not brake any records,
but are still unusually tall for the species in Georgia. Both green ash
and mockernut hickory approach 130' in the cove, but tuliptree is
certainly the second tallest species in the cove.

Jess Riddle