Hartwick Pines:  Repeatedly frustrated by short winter days   Don Bragg
  Dec 27, 2006 05:36 PST 


Well, over the course of the last couple of weeks, I have seem some
impressive timber, only to be frustrated by the lack of daylight. 

-----Cache River, IL-----

On Christmas eve, my family and I drove from my parent's house in
northern Wisconsin to my wife's parents house near Ann Arbor, Michigan,
via the UP (that's Upper Peninsula, y'all). After a beautiful drive, we
were in the Grayling, Michigan area in the late afternoon. Since we had
about an hour to sunset, we stopped at Hartwick Pines, a well-known
old-growth pine remnant just a few miles from I-75. As my kids ran
around and played in a few of the remaining piles of snow, I trotted
into the old pine stand, and frantically started scanning the tall
eastern white pines in the fading light. The setting sun provided a
wonderful light display, with the crowns of the trees highlighted. The
first few pines I measured were only 120 to 130 feet, and I worried that
I wouldn't get any bigguns before darkness fell. However, as I made my
way over to where the former "Monarch" pine had stood, the pine stand
got denser, and the trees were notably taller. I first found one pine
right on the trail that was 33.9 inches at DBH and at least 147 feet
tall. After some more exploring, I finally found a 29.2 inch DBH white
pine that was 151.5 feet tall. These were the only specimens I
detailed--I did measure a number of other individals at 140+ feet, and
one or two other white pines than broke 150 feet. I also quickly
measured a couple of other red pines at about 125 feet, an eastern
hemlock to about 95 feet, and some sugar maples and American beech to
85-90 feet. I know all of these can be improved upon. This site has
many pines with strong apical dominance and the potential to add more to
their height, if only they can survive the winds and snow/ice common to
the area.

I definitely plan to explore these areas more, as I get the opportunity.

Happy Holidays!

Don Bragg, Ph.D.
Research forester