Riddle (Hawk Woods) Nature Preserve, OH  

== 3 of 4 ==
Date: Tues, Apr 8 2008 8:07 pm
From: Randy Brown

This Nature preserve is located just north of Athens in Southeastern
Ohio (Look Southeast from columbus and go 2/3s of the way to the Ohio
River and you are there). Athens itself is located in a broad
flatbottomed 270˚ bend in the Hocking Rivers, with steep ridges of the
unglaciated Appalachian Plateau on all sides of it. The Nature
Preserve is located just on the other side of the ridge just north of
town. Here's a map shamelessly ripped off of Wikipedia:

riddle1.jpg (110114 bytes)

The park is described as containing 85 acres of Old growth. But
frankly, after 3 separate visits I think it is a stretch to call any
of it Old Growth. It's covered with a very uniform (and very nice
looking!) even aged stand of second growth, with a handful of trees
that I'd describe as Old Growth (I noticed maybe six off the top of
my head). Perhaps disturbance has been minimal since the original
logging, but it is obvious from the youth growth form and uniformity
of the vast majority of the trees that nearly all the area was
clearcut, probably all at the same time.

Anyway the park contains only a single ridgetop trail and the
topography is -very- steep. As in simply standing in one place is
difficult as the dry leaves start sliding out from underneath you.
Many of the slopes have one or more slump blocks on them, breaking the
slopes into a series of stair steps (A few areas are so steep you can
literally jump from from several consecutive tip-up mounds to the
next). The tallest trees are located on the 'flats' of these
stairsteps and at the shallow slopes at the heads of small valleys.
The actual valley bottoms were very steep V-shaped affairs, with
incises ravines at the bottoms. In general the trees here are
skinnier here so I did not measure any in these areas on this trip.

The dominant species is of course Tulip Tree in the bottoms, gradually
grading into a mixture of Red Oaks, White Oak, on the midslopes. An
occasional black cherry, Big toothed Aspen, Beech, Basswood and Sugar
and red Maple can be found here as well. The top of the ridges were
dominated by White and Chestnut Oaks, with a few Black Oaks and
Hickories interspersed. The trees on the ridgetops were noticeably
shorter and fatter than in the coves.

On this trip I concentrated my measuring efforts on the tallest trees
I could find. So I concentrated my search on the 'stairsteps' and
valley heads. I've marked with a * the trees that looked 'old' to me
(older, rougher bark, gnarled limbs hollows, etc). With that in mind
here's what I came up with:

Riddle Nature Preserve

White Pine (Landscape planting in the park)
7 08.5
Tulip Popular
6 05.5
White Oak
5 06.5
Chestnut Oak
7 00.0
Tulip Popular
4 11.5
Tulip Popular
7 08.5
*Sugar Maple (Leaning Tree)
8 03.0
Red Oak
9 01.5
Tulip Poplar
7 09.5
*Black (scarlet?) Oak
8 07.5
Red Oak
6 06.0
Head of Valley:

*Red Oak (Old Tree with Hollow)
10 00.0
Tulip Poplar
6 07.0
Tulip Poplar (w/ ~4+ dia grape vine)
8 03.0
Tulip Poplar
8 04.5