The Leaning Tower  Will Blozan
  October 15, 2007

TOPIC: The Leaning Tower 

== 1 of 2 ==
Date: Mon, Oct 15 2007 8:48 am
From: "Will Blozan"


On September 28th I met up with new ENTS member James Parton to show him
some of the trees we had been discussing in Cataloochee. During a hike to
see the Usis Hemlock we went up the east side of the small creek that I had
not seen before. Two tall hemlocks caught my eye, and we went about setting
up targets for the obscured bases and found clean laser shots. Both trees
came out over 160' tall; one 42.4" dbh X 161.8' and another at 53.6" dbh X
166.8'. The latter tree would qualify for the top fifteen tallest trees in
the Tsuga Search Project so I went to climb it yesterday and perform a tape
drop. The "shorter" members of the tallest tree list differ by mere inches.

lt1.jpg (36548 bytes)

For the climb I was joined by fellow tree climber Bob Weber out of
Highlands, NC. He also climbed with me on another Tsuga Search tree in 2006.

(   )

In contrast to the Winding Stair tree, the Leaning Tower was dead and the
bark was being scaled off by woodpeckers. Bob stayed on the ground for the
tape drop before joining me in the top (s) for the volume measurements. This
formerly gorgeous tree had a heavy lean and three tops, each over 30' long.
The tape drop was 166.1' which tied the fifteenth tallest known hemlock. In
a way I was glad- since if it was just 1.2 inches taller a vegetation plot
would be called for- and looking at the surrounding carnage of fallen tree
shrapnel on thick rhododendron, Leucothöe and blackberry this was not high
on my list of fun...

lt2.jpg (35930 bytes)

Bob came up and we went ahead and modeled the tree for volume on the way
down. It scaled exactly 900 cubic feet; a bit more than my guess of 850
cubes. The trunk of this slender tree, after the basal swell, was remarkably
columnar and was still 18" in diameter at 130' up where it split into three

lt3.jpg (46865 bytes)

From the dead top I was offered a view of several scenes of interest. One of
course was the splendid crystal fall day with dark green spruce on the
ridges and various degrees of fall color descending the slopes.

lt4.jpg (39181 bytes)

The other was an overview of the Nellie Cove preservation area; some of
which had retained decidedly green hemlocks. The third scene was that of the
top of the height record Usis Hemlock sticking up over all else at 173.1'
tall. The top of Usis was completely dead but readily identified.

lt5.jpg (70052 bytes)

At this time, ENTS has identified 69 eastern hemlocks 160' or taller. Of
these 69 hemlocks, four are on the TN side of the Smokies, five in SC, one
in GA, and one in NC on private land. That leaves 58 (84%) of them in
Cataloochee! Of those 58, 33 (57%) are on a single ridge system (Big Fork
Ridge) within 3.4 miles of each other. ALL hemlocks over 170' are in
Cataloochee on or adjacent to the same bedrock. Considering the huge range
of eastern hemlock, this is far from insignificant!

Will Blozan

President, Eastern Native Tree Society
President, Appalachian Arborists, Inc.

== 2 of 2 ==
Date: Mon, Oct 15 2007 9:14 am
From: James Parton


It looked like a great climb! I wish I could have been there on this
one. Still it was nice to have played a part in this find. It's a
shame that so nice a tree is dead. Damned adelgids! Cataloochee is
awesome! having so many large hemlocks as well as big tuliptrees,
oaks, cucumbertrees and a really tall chestnut. And the tallest known
white pine.

James Parton

TOPIC: The Leaning Tower 

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Tues, Oct 16 2007 7:03 pm
From: "Dale Luthringer"

NiiIIIiice hemlocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!