Coleman Boundary and Douglas Falls, NC  

TOPIC: Coleman Boundary/Douglas Falls

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Tues, May 13 2008 10:58 pm
From: James Parton


Due to having Lack Of Work at GE for part of this week I had time to visit the Coleman Boundary/Big Ivy area of Pisgah National forest and hike up to Douglas Falls. Upon entering the forest by car I noticed the hemlocks did not appear healthy. Many looked weak and dying. I had read of past ENTS reports and others stating that the hemlocks in this area were still pretty healthy and I wanted to see if this had changed. It seemed as I went deeper into the forest and gained in elevation the hemlocks seemed to improve, but not dramatically. First we stopped at Corner Rock Picnic Area. I noticed some nice Norway Spruce and White Cedar growing there. It is the first time I have seen them growing in a forest environment. No doubt, they had been planted there, years back. I have never seen White Cedar ( Arborvitae ) this big. They are very pretty trees. Upon reaching the trailhead of Douglas Falls we set out on our fairly short hike. Entering the forest I noticed the majority of trees were not really large or tall indicating that they are second growth. The forest consists of Maple, Mostly Sugar, Northern Red Oak, Buckeye, Birch, Black Cherry, some Beech and Eastern Hemlock. I found no White or Pitch pine at all here. 

Eastern Hemlock

I kept my eye out for American Chestnut sprouts but found not a one here. I found a 12" diameter hemlock that had been cut off the trail and examined the rings. They were only millimeters apart near the center and were so close together near the bark that it would have taken a magnifier to count them. This small hemlock may have been more than a hundred years old! The bigger ones could be 350 or more years old. 

Hemlocks above Douglas Falls

Upon nearing the falls the trees noticeably increase in size indicating older growth. Several nice ones were found both on and off the trail. Here, most of the hemlocks are still alive. Some quite green while others are considerably defoliated. The adelgid is here and is easily found on the twigs. There is still time for many of these trees to be saved. If I had the money and the means I would do it or have it done myself. It is so sad that I am looking at what may be some of the last living hemlocks here in the east. Green River Game Land's hemlocks were in slightly better shape than these are here but like these are in decline. Without man's assistance they will not last long.

Dying Hemlocks below Douglas Falls

The falls themselves are pretty. One of the few you can walk behind. Joy really enjoyed seeing Douglas Falls.

Upon getting back to the parking lot we walked across the road into the woods and found some more hemlocks. One was of good size and still alive and the other was one of the greenest I have seen. Treated? Maybe but somehow I don't think so. Up here, some hemlocks are nearly dead while others a short distance away are quite green. I don't understand it. But as a general rule the hemlocks are not looking good.

Healthy Hemlocks

Upon riding back down I was looking for some sizeable chestnut trees that had been reported to me. I did not find them. I will have to get back in touch with my informants on the trees location. I might have walked right by them.

We also hiked a little ways down the Staire Branch Trail but I found no especially notable trees there.

Here are some measurements taken on the outing. Joy has proven herself a useful assistant on measuring trees. She writes down the numbers as I call them out to her and she helps me " spot " the trunks, if needed. It's cool to have a wife who enjoys the woods!

CBH Height

Norway Spruce 7' 5" 117.81'
White Cedar 4' 11 1/2" 57. 87'
Eastern Hemlock 12' 2 1/2" 119.14'
Eastern Hemlock 11' 9 1/4"
Eastern Hemlock 124.25'
Eastern Hemlock 11' 6 3/4" 118.25'
Eastern Hemlock 11' 5 3/4"
Buckeye 8' 2 1/2" 123. 97'
Red Oak 9' 4 3/4"
Red Oak 10' 9"
Eastern Hemlock 11' 2 3/4" 101.52'

On average, The trees here do not seem to be as tall as in Cataloochee Valley or Joyce Kilmer though Jess Riddle and Josh Kelly found bigger & taller ones down Waterfall and Carter Creeks in a past outing. James Smith has also expressed an interest in this area.

James Parton

== 2 of 5 ==
Date: Wed, May 14 2008 2:05 pm
From: JamesRobertSmith

Well, those hemlocks look sicker than the last time I was there.

Any idea what it would run to treat the few acres around the falls?

== 3 of 5 ==
Date: Wed, May 14 2008 6:13 pm
From: James Parton

James " Bob " Smith,

I have no idea. Will might be able to answer that one.

James Parton

== 4 of 5 ==
Date: Wed, May 14 2008 8:07 pm
From: Josh

Bill Hascher and I made an effort to treat the area along the Douglas
Falls Trail, but were denied. There was a beetle release in that area
and the Forest Service has an unfortunate policy about not allowing
chemical treatment within a 1/2 mile radius of beetle releases. We
are working on getting a service (read: volunteer) contract to treat
some of the area lower down on Waterfall Creek that Jess and I wrote
about in our post. If that permit ever comes through, we could sure
use some volunteers!! It will be a three mile hike, mostly off-trail,
just to get to the site.


== 5 of 5 ==
Date: Wed, May 14 2008 9:51 pm
From: James Parton


If it ever comes to pass and falls on the weekend, I will volunteer to
help. Just let me know in advance.

The beetles are probably a lost cause, but I still hope.

James P.

== 2 of 6 ==
Date: Thurs, May 15 2008 5:05 am
From: Kouta Räsänen

James, ENTS,

You mentioned there were Norway Spruces in Coleman Boundary area. If I
have understood correctly, it is being used in forestry for timber in
your area and is also naturalized in some areas (right?). Question: Do
the Norway Spruce have some obvious advantages over your native
conifers as a timber tree?


== 3 of 6 ==
Date: Thurs, May 15 2008 8:45 am
From: James Parton


Yes, I found some Norway Spruce at Coleman Boundary. I have never
found any that are naturalized here in NC or planted in large enough
numbers to use for timber. I suppose they could naturalize at higher
altitudes in the Southern Appalachians if planted there, but
surprisingly I found some that apparently germinated from seed on the
Biltmore Estate. This surprises me since Biltmore is located at only
2,200 feet above sea level. If my memory serves me right, Will told me
that if Norway Spruce germinates at warmer lower altitudes it does not
grow well.

Clay Tench, A friend of mine has two planted Norway Spruce trees in
his front yard and one is really close to the woods. Dispite a search
there I have never found a norway sapling coming up from seed.

I have heard of Norway Spruce naturalizing up in the northern states.
As far as being used for timber, some of our northern foresters on the
list might could answer that.

James Parton

== 4 of 6 ==
Date: Thurs, May 15 2008 9:26 am

Yes, Norway spruce regenerates naturally in Wisconsin forests. It has not yet been aggressively invasive here and is only marginally successful in maintaining a minor persistent presence in forests near the plantings where it has been introduced.

Paul Jost

== 5 of 6 ==
Date: Thurs, May 15 2008 4:35 pm
From: JamesRobertSmith

I see lots of Norway spruce when I go to West Virginia. It seems to be
everywhere along the roads.