Rocky Knob Recreation Area, Blue Ridge parkway, VA

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Rocky Knob Recreation Area, Blue Ridge parkway, VA

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:35 pm

On the way up to the national Cadre event in Blacksburg, Will Blozan and I stopped to walk in the woods and measure some trees. One stop, before Rocky Knob, promised towering pines. One topped 120', not exactly towering. A witch hazel hit 44.7'.

Rocky Knob is a gorge with a very steep south facing wall. It has some coves that looked promising from satellite imagery. GPS didn't work and trails were few so we wandered a bit on the north facing slope but didn't find much except for denuded soils and rock gardens. After crossing the stream, we searched a cove on the south facing ridge and found decent tulips but not much else. A trail led up from the gorge to the top alongside a smaller stream. Some more decent tulips resided here but the stars were the sycamores. Along the main stream, species diversity was high but the heights weren't. A couple of gnarly old tulips greeted us but they were in decline.

Liriodendron tulipifera 146.5' 145.3' 144.3'

Platanus occidentalis 141.9' 139.0' 136.0' 136.0' 132.2'

Juglans nigra 104.3'

This is a huge area and has the potential for some of the tallest trees in Virginia in the higher elevation coves--if they hadn't been used for crops.

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