COOK FOREST RENDEZVOUS, 2002    Robert Leverett
   Apr 22, 2002 09:16 PDT 
Dear Ents:

   Well, the ENTS rendezvous at Cook Forest now enters the history
books, and what a rendezvous it was. First, I would like to take the
time to thank Dale Luthringer for his tireless efforts to make the event
a success. DCNR owes Dale a lot. I hope they appreciate their tireless
trooper. I'm sure the trees do. I would also like to thank American
Forests, and New York's Old Growth Survey group headed by David Yarrow,
Fred Breglia, Bruce Kershner, and Tom Diggins for their co-sponsorship
of our event. Thank you all.

   The event went like a dream. When we rolled into Cook Forest at
5:00PM on April 19th and it was not long before we hit the woods on the
trail of superb Black Cherries. Dale took us to the spot where
containment of enthusiasm was not even remotely contemplated. It was ape
call time. What magnificent trees! We measured one Black Cherry to 11.4
feet in circumference and 134.6 feet in height. It had a massive
sweeping crown, quite possibly the finest Black Cherry I've ever seen.
We all were spell bound.

    The additions to Dale's big tree list for Cook Forest can now

1. A Black Cherry confirmed by Will Blozan at 137.0 feet (new record).
This breaks Bob Van Pelts prior record of 136.6 feet. We've now measured
6 Black Cherries in Cook Forest to over 130 feet. There are many over
120. Cook Forest rules.

2. An Eastern Hemlock confirmed by Will Blozan at 141.6 feet, making it
the 3rd to be confirmed at over 140 in Cook Forest. I doubt there are
others. We've looked a lot, but there are many over 130 and countless
ones over 120.

3. A splendid Northern Red Oak discovered by Dr. Diggins (who is one
heck of a guitar player [another beer for the plug, Tom]) confirmed by
yours truly proved to be 122.9 feet (new record). The Northern Red Oak
now joins the list of Cook Forest species reaching heights of 120 feet
or more. There are a few Northern Reds over 120 feet in Cook.

4. An American Beech confirmed by Will Blozan at 124+ feet (new record).
Dale had surpassed 120 for the species. There are possibly a fairly
large number over 120 in Cook.

5. A White Pine on the Seneca Ridge confirmed to 160.4 feet by yours
truly. At the time, I called out the measurement as 159.9, but that was
without me taking into consideration trunk thickness, which gives an
extra 1.5 feet of horizontal distance and the point of click over, which
indicated a crown point distance of at least another 1/3 of a yard. The
sleet falling on us at the time caused me not to dally. The actual
height of this fine tree is most likely between 160.5 and 161.0 feet.
The pine becomes the only one we know on the Seneca Ridge to exceed 160

6. Confirmation of the Northern Red Oak champion at 16.6 feet in
circumference and 120.4 feet in height. My field calculation was off. I
simply mis-punched the keys. Will had gotten 40 yards shooting nearly
straight up. He obviously found the crown sprig. The average crown
spread of 64.5 feet gives this behemoth 335 big tree points.

7. Confirmation of the Longfellow Tree's height by Will and Ron's climb
was the highlight of the occasion and was attended about 110 spellbound
people. The great tree is now officially 180 feet 11 inches tall. For
the present, it takes its place as #2 in the eastern USA. Now please
indulge me the opportunity to brag a bit. My 4 trigonometry-derived
heights varied from 180.4 to 181.9 feet - all within in +/- 1.0 feet of
taped height. Using Colby's method to reduce measurement error, we could
have probably gotten with 4 or 5 inches. Incidentally, Dale's height
determinations were within +/- 1.0 feet of the taped height. I state
this range to re-emphasize the point that we HAVE developed the methods
to get within +/- 1.0 feet of taped height of what we seek to measure.
Whether it is Bob Van Pelt, Colby Rucker, Will Blozan, Paul Jost, Lee
Frelich, Dale Luthringer, Jess Riddle, Jack Sobon, or myself, the
measurements hold up time and time again.

8. A Black Birch confirmed by Will Blozan at 105 feet (new record).

9. Reconfirmation of the "Feather Duster Pine" to be 171.2 feet by Paul
Jost and myself. I shot to Paul's white reflector, held at the base. My
last measurement was 171.4 feet. This is a very old pine and the first
standing pine to be accurately measured in Cook to over 170 feet.

    One of the programs for which I had responsibility was to give a
lecture on tree height determinations. I was surprised to have a full
house at the Log Cabin, expecting no more than 12 to 15, but there was
close to double that. The black board allowed me to draw the triangles
needed to solve the problems and stress the points I wanted to make. I
do believe the ENTS persistence in promoting measuring accuracy is
beginning to show dividends. There are still people who seem stuck in
approximating techniques. That's okay with me unless they promote their
results as gospel, but there should be some source people can turn to
that is completely trustworthy. That source is the ENTS lists. End of

    One final highlight. Dr. Lee Frelich's interpretations of forest
processes are always most enlightening. Lee is truly an extraordinary
scientist with a phenomenal grasp of what is going on in the woods. He
doesn't deal in hyperbole. He describes in great clarity the processes,
what is confirmed science and what is theory. His pointing out of
neighborhood effects associated with an assemblage of American Beech
trees was revealing to me. But the very serious Dr. Frelich has a fun
side too. Lee has a fine dry sense of humor. He enjoys pulling my
strings at time.   

     Well, the Cook Forest rendezvous is over. The next one will be in
Michigan and the Porkies are sounding better and better.