Cook Forest Update, Oct 2007  Feb 11, 2008

TOPIC: Cook Forest update 


On 10/6/07 I had the opportunity to re-measure a few past height
champions on one of our interpretive programs, 'Searching for the

The first tree we re-measured was the Eastern height champ Colorado blue
spruce.  On 9/27/06 we had it at 5ft CBH x 113.4ft high.  A little over
a year later, it grew to 5.1ft CBH x 115.7.  The tree is a rocket.
There's another nearby that needs re-measuring, but will likely be close
to 113ft as well.  MacBeth's Cabins has a dandy or two that need to be
remeasured.  I believe they'll have at least one, if not two by now
that'll make it into the 110ft class.

The second was one of our 90ft class pitch pines at the entrance to Fire
Tower Rd.  Last measured on 1/25/07 to 5.6ft CBH x 90.9ft high, it now
stands at 5.6ft CBH x 91.5ft high.  I've been measuring this tree since
4/30/04 and it has only grown 0.1ft in girth in 3 years, but 3.6ft in
height in the same time frame.  I also cored the tree this time and put
it to ~65 years at breast height.  I feel we'll eventually find a pitch
pine in PA that'll break 100ft.  Scott Wade's probably got one in his
pocket down there, just waiting for me to post this note.

I also finally found the old state champ pitch pine that reportedly died
sometime in the 1980's, well before the 1993 PFA PA Big Tree pub was put
out.  I've been trying to find this elusive tree for the last 10 years.
I was always looking on the ground, but was absolutely blown away when I
found the tree still standing.  I must say, I did not find it on my own,
repeated directions from Greg Rearick, initial nominator, and extra eyes
that were along from our interpretive program spied this beauty, still
with much of the bark on.  Even dead, it still is the largest girth
pitch pine we have on record at Cook Forest at 6.3ft CBH x 93.2ft high.
This tree has been dead for close to 20 years and still is the 2nd
tallest known pitch pine in PA, if not the northeast.  You can actually
see the tree from the Fire Tower Road at 41 19.863N x 79 12.906W, but
you must really keep your eyes peeled.   The bark on this pitch pine was 
deeply furrowed, and resembled a plating character reminiscent of ~200 
year red pine that I cored in the Lebo Run N.A.
The trunk is not stable 
though, and if we had the right wind, would probably take it down.  
Exposed trunk without the bark is very punky.  

See ya'all.  I'm off to CT this week for the 4th HWA Symposium.  Hope to
have some neat stuff to report, but at this rate in my backlog of data,
it might take me 4 months to get to it.


TOPIC: Cook Forest update

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Mon, Feb 11 2008 6:07 am


Thanks for the update. That Colorado blue spruce is a humdinger. BTW, I was especially interested in the news about the pitch pines in Cook. As my health permits and as part of the tree height measuring method comparison study, I intend to collect a lot of data from Massachusetts on pitch pines and I won't have to travel far to do it. The Westfield township, about 12 miles south of Florence, has many handsome pitch pines, some quite old. A number of week back, I measured a pitch pine behind the house Rob is living in to 84 feet in height and he says there are many in the area of similar height and possibly taller. The sandy soils of the region are ideal for pitch pine. There are some in Florence, but no major stands. Then there is the Montague Pine Plains to the north and east of Florence. The Pine Plains a large area covered in pitch pines that don't look very old to me. I think Harvard Forest did a study of the region several years ago. Then eastern Mass has plenty of pitch pines.

I don't know where the best place to look for a new champion might be, but Westfield is as good of a place to start as I know of. There is also a vast area of pitch pine-dominated habitat west of Albany, NY. I've zipped through it many times on I90. I don't know where to get good access though to prime areas. It would be good to get a New York-Pennsylvania-New England competition going, though. I need to get back to Mount Tom to measure the height champ there - if I can find it again.