Stumphouse mountain   Jess Riddle
  Mar 31, 2004 08:54 PST 

Last Saturday I took the opportunity to check out a new section of the
Brevard Fault Zone in the vicinity of Isaqueena falls, north of Walhalla
SC. A description I have of the area mentions a nice forest of tuliptree
and basswood below the falls. Unfortunately that forest occurs in a
narrow corridor along the stream and Rhododendron minus densely covers the
adjacent slopes under oaks. A short distance farther downstream a flat
several acres in size occurs bordered by steep slopes rising over 400
feet. However, this area does not appear as rich as other sections of the
Brevard Belt farther north, and all of the forest in the flat and lower
slopes had been cleared in the past 50 years, some much more recently.

From the vicinity of the top of the falls, an old railroad grade extends
northeast for approximately two miles along the steep southeast aspect
slopes that approximate the edge of the fault zone. Clear-cuts made
within the past ten to fifteen years extend to within 50 yards below the
railroad grade, so the most productive forest in the area is almost
certainly gone; however, nice second growth forest covers the steep slopes
that extend 200 to 300 feet in elevation above the path. Bloodroot is one
of the more common herbaceous species in the area, but japanese
honeysuckle has also taken over small areas. Disturbance has also allowed
one clump of paulownia to establish itself, and redbud flourishes under
the partially closed canopy along most of the section of the railroad.
Tuliptree and white oak may be the most common species along much of the
slope, but slippery elm and black walnut also reach the canopy in one area.

Most of the trees I measured grow along the headwaters of an unnamed
stream that forms a recess in the slope. I'm sure other notable tall
trees grow along the slope, but wind exposure will likely limit their
concentration. The short, steep slope on the other side of the ridge also
has potential since concerns for the downstream Walhalla Reservoir may
have limited disturbance and the area faces northwest.

Species Cbh Height Comment
Hickory, Pignut NA 129.9' Tallest tree noticed below Isaqueena Falls
Hickory, Pignut 9'3" 142.5' In Alexander Creek watershed
Oak, Black 7'7" 124.8' Adjacent to tree below, may have higher top
Oak, Black 8'9.5" 126.1' well formed tree, may have higher top
Oak, Chestnut 9'11" 134.3' One of the nicest I've seen, 3rd tallest in SC
Oak, N. Red 9'1.5" 128.4' Probably has higher top
Oak, Scarlet 10'2" ~95' Swollen, rotten base
Tuliptree 14'7" ~136' Remanent @ spring, w/ fire char & broken top
Tuliptree NA 139.9' Emergent, others in drainage comparable