Windstorm Preserve Edward Frank
  Oct 15,2007
TOPIC: Windstorm Preserve

== 1 of 3 ==
Date: Mon, Oct 15 2007 8:10 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


Last Week I posted a short note about a trip to Parker Dam State Park.  Part of the park has been designated a "Windstorm Preserve" that encompasses an area hit by a tornado in 1985.  I think this is a really interesting idea.  (I know the week before the Forest Summit may not be the best time to post, but..) When I was in South Dakota a couple years ago I visited the Black Hills area and Custer State Park.  There had been several large fires in the area which at different times burnt different patches of forest.  One of the interesting aspects of this visit was that there were informational signs that showed when various areas were burnt and helped illustrate the process of regrowth after the burn. 
I don't believe that ENTS should only be about big trees.  These efforts are important in helping the general public understand natural processes like these.  I would like to see more efforts like this take place in various public parks.  I am wondering how other similar natural processes could best be presented to the public in a similar manner?  Could something be done to better demonstrate the process of the decay of coarse woody debris and their role in the ecosystem?  Written materials are fine, seeing something in front of you gives a deeper level of understanding to the processes.  A recent post talked about a mechanism placed on tree that when a button was pushed would talk to children and would introduce themselves and tell a little bit about the tree species.  There are hiking trails designed for blind people to hike in the woods and allow them to experience the setting.  These typically have a guide rope, and informational signs. They focus on sounds, feel, and scent of the woodlands.  I think it would be a great concept for sighted people to cover the same trail with blindfolds.  I am sure there are other ideas out there among the brilliant minds that inhabit the ENTS discussion list.  lets start a discussion of these ideas.
I also am still interested in developing a downloadable book of children's activities for on the ENTS website.  It would include formal classroom type activities that could be implemented by schools, activities that could be done as a family, things the kids could do by themselves, and ideas for nature walk themes to be conducted by park interpretive personnel.  Send me your ideas, links, whatever.  Ideally a written concept or plan would be better.  This would be an excellent time for some of our newer members or list lurkers to participate.
Here is the information again about the Windstorm preserve from the DCNR website:
Windstorm Preserve:  The tornado of 1985 blew a swath of destruction across Parker Dam State Park. The forest to the west of Mud Run Road has been left in a natural state. Note the large, bare tree trunks still standing in testimony to the power of the storm. The Trail of New Giants runs through this area. On the east side of Mud Run Road fallen trees have been salvaged and removed. Explore the two areas to see if the forest regrows differently in the two areas.
Trail of New Giants: 1 mile, moderate hiking, no blazes
On May 31, 1985, one of Pennsylvania's largest and strongest tornadoes roared through the park and destroyed the towering forest of ash, oak, beech and sugar maple trees. The Trail of New Giants cuts through the blowdown and the 250-acre Windstorm Preserve. Walk the trail and see the forest regenerating. A spur trail leads to a beautiful vista of the park and surrounding forest.
Edward Frank

TOPIC: Windstorm Preserve

== 1 of 3 ==
Date: Tues, Oct 16 2007 5:21 am


Here in the suburbs we have similar swaths of regenerating forest. They were caused by the installation of sewer lines in the 60/70's. I often notice them as a dip in the tree line when observed from a distance.

I think the preservation of these areas hit by tornadoes is a great idea, I wonder if anyone is studying the area at a collegiate level. I wonder what the biggest differences are between a fallow field regenerating and a blowdown. I guess the weedy/shrub phase is skipped?


== 2 of 3 ==
Date: Tues, Oct 16 2007 12:06 pm
From: Larry

Ed, In several forests down here some small storm blowdowns are
left to decay naturally, mostly for wildlife to hid from predators.

== 3 of 3 ==
Date: Tues, Oct 16 2007 2:03 pm

When I was attending UMASS in the early 90's, Harvard Forest was doing some extensive studies on this...they mimicked windevents with heavy equipment (what I'd call a cherry picker).

TOPIC: Windstorm Preserve

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Tues, Oct 16 2007 10:40 pm


I visited Parker Dam back in 1994 and took photos of an entire
hillside of standing snags that were sheared off by the tornado. The
regrowth was almost as tall as the snags at that point and I assume it
is much taller now and the evidence of the tornado that much fainter.
There was a nice interpretive sign near there about a group of boy
scouts that survived the F4 by taking shelter in a wooden cottage. It
was one of those Amish "16-sided" structures and that design probably
saved their lives.The entire forest around there was leveled and
several trees came to rest on the cottage, without collapsing it.
There were amazing "before and after" photos of this on the sign. As
an aside, I gave a talk on severe weather safety in that very building
a few years ago. Legend has it that the park manager in 1985 was at
the headquarters building south of the tornado and thought what was
happening was an earthquake: the ground was actually shaking from the
effect of hundreds of trees being felled.

That same tornado traveled more than 60 miles, was over 2 miles wide
at times (one of the biggest on record) and killed an estimated 88,000
trees. Unfortunately, it also hit a patch of old growth hemlocks at
East Branch Swamp Natural Area:

Of course, you know that the Tionesta area got hit with one of the
1985 tornadoes. That area has been studied extensively and would make
a nice field trip. The disastrous effects of beech bark disease can be
seen there, too. The deer enclosure at Heart's Content might be
another area of similar interest. Here in Michigan we have a few areas
that were disturbed by the big derecho of 1998, at least one of them a
stand of old growth at a state park:

The blowdown area has a section of deer enclosure and it is quite
impressive to see the difference in forest regeneration in the
enclosure compared to out of it.