Two Trips to Cook Forest    Carl Harting
   Aug 09, 2005 18:50 PDT 


I made 2 quick measuring trips to Cook Forest in the last week, and
though the results weren't that impressive I thought I'd share them with
you. The first was last Thursday when I explored the ridge top above the
canoe launch along the Clarion River. The ridge is only a couple hundred
feet higher than the valley floor and very rocky and dry - like a rock
garden in one ankle twisting area. The purpose of this trip was to
measure American Chestnut which had only been measured once in the park,
by Ed Frank and Dale near the firetower. That tree was only around 15
feet, so I was certain I'd top it with this trip since I had seen one
here on a recent walk with my daughter. I ended up finding 5 trees on
the Eastern edge of the ridge top, with the heights ranging from
34.4-68.9ft. All were skinny but not one showed any sign of blight
cankers. Scanning the forest I looked for large low growing leaves (like
hickories and cucumbers) to help pick out the chestnuts. As my time ran
out I pushed to reach the park boundary and about 100 yards before the
line I ran across another, larger tree. This one weighed in at 75.0
feet with CBH at 3.4ft. Again no sign of disease, and this time there
was an added bonus of numerous nuts in the upper canopy. Dale seemed
happy to have a nut producing chestnut in the park.

American Chestnut   75.0ft 3.4cbh new park record
American Chestnut   61.8ft 1.7cbh
American Chestnut   51.0ft 1.5cbh
American Chestnut   68.9ft 2.0cbh
American Chestnut   34.4ft 1.2cbh
American Chestnut   58.1ft 1.6cbh

Today I measured behind the Boy Scout Camp on Forest Drive with my son
assisting with the recording of the measurements. I remembered this area
from hunting trips back in the eighties and thought it might hold a
couple treats, but no such luck. The area measures about 30-40 acres and
is mostly surrounded by old dairy farm that had been planted with red
pine in the thirties by the CCC. A small creek drains it down the
middle, but there are many low spots that keep the ground moist in most
years. There were several American Beech that I couldn't find tops for,
but they weren't any taller than the others. Trees measured include...

white pine 122.2ft 6.0cbh
white pine 115.3ft 8.3cbh
hemlock     114.0ft 9.5cbh
hemlock     120.2ft 8.5cbh
white ash   114.2ft 7.5cbh

Dale predicted this area wouldn't be too impressive, and the master was
right on.

RE: TwoTrips to Cook Forest    Dale J. Luthringer
   Aug 10, 2005 17:23 PDT 


Thanks for posting your Am. chestnut finds. Anthony will just hate that
you got the "scoop" on us. How far did you walk down that ridge again?
I can't remember, did you make it to Logue's? If so, how far did you
walk along the boundary. This will help me concentrate a future search,
possibly next week, with Anthony.

"The Master"?... hardly, you da' man, Carl! I believe finding a forest
grown Am. chestnut taller than 75ft will be a bit harder to break then
my and Ed's contribution.

That white ash you found in there isn't bad. I haven't found many white
ash to even measure in Cook. I just found one off Cemetery Rd
yesterday, just off the road and around the curve from the Cook
Cemetery, that went to at least 126.5ft. I couldn't see the whole top.
It very well could just surpass the current park height record white ash
of 128.3ft. I think I'll have to wait for leaf off though.

Today I checked out a portion of the proposed Clarion River Trail on the
south side of the Clarion River, on the slope between the gas-line that
crosses the river and the "hogback". I wanted to check out a small
stand of pitch pine that I saw over 6 years ago. I was hoping to find a
new pitch pine record, but to no avail. Turns out they barely would
break 75ft. Just like your trip behind the Boy Scout area, the trees I
saw years ago looked bigger then too.