Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park

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tsharp
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Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park

Post by tsharp » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:48 pm

The Island is located in the Ohio River about one mile downriver from the confluence of the Little Kanawha River in Wood County, WV. It is owned by the Dupont Corporation and has been leased to the State of West Virginia since the 1970s for use as a state park. It features a reconstruction of the Blennerhasset Mansion and several other buildings and is only accessible by boat. I spent two days here in October and November measuring trees on the developed upriver end of the Island.
Additional information may be found at these links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blennerhas ... State_Park
http://www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com/
What follows is a list of the larger trees I measured listed by descending height.
Height', DBH", CBH"/'
Sycamore- Platanus occidentalis
121.7, 62.6, 199.8/16.7
117.7, 88.4, 277.7/23.1 DBH taken at 5’
Cottonwood- Populus deltoides
111.2, 37.2, 116.9/9.7
111.1, 42.8, 134.5/11.2
Silver Maple- Acer saccaharinum
109.5, 35.7, 112.2/9.3
107.3, ----, ----
Tulip-poplar - Lirodendron tulpifera
100.4, 36.7, 115.3/9.6
Black Walnut - Juglans nigra
98.1, ----, ---- Plantation
96.4, 43.8, 137.6/11.5
96.2, 43.6, 137.0/11.4
89.2, 38.9, 122.2/10.2
----, 60.6, 190.4/15.9 Double stem
Hackberry - Celtis occidentalis
87.2, 29.9, 93.97.8 DBH taken at 4’
Black Cherry - Prunus serotina
86.2, 26.3, 82.6/6.9
73.9, 29.1, 91.4/7.6
Black Locust -Robina pseudoacacia
77.6, 24.7, 77.6/6.5
American Elm -Ulmus americana
64.6, 22.5, 70.7/5.9
Boxelder -Acer negundo
55.4, 23.2, 72.9/8.1
Paw Paw - Asimina triloba
42.2, 10.1, 31.7/2.6
33.3, 10.6, 33.3/2.8

I took additional measurements on the large circumference Sycamore (23.1) and the two Paw paws/
The Sycamore circumference had to be measured at 5’ to get above a cluster of sprouts that made the bole swell at 4 ½'. The six sprouts ranged from 2 to 12” dbh, 4 ½ from the main bole. It appears this tree may have started life as a double stem with one of the stems being removed and sending out numerous sprouts. The stub of this stem has completely healed over with only a bulges showing where it was. I took a circumference measurement at ground level on the upslope side at 34.7’ and at 1’ above ground level at 31.5’ I believe that taking the diameter where I did (5')removed the influence of the long gone second stem. The crownspread of this tree was 127’ and 72’ taken at right angle to the first measurement. Total AF points 420.3. Height to first major limb was 19’ and second major limb 37’
About 75 percent of the trees are Sycamores and Silver Maples except for the Walnut plantation and a number or large walnut near the Mansion. There were many multi-stem Sycamore which will be measured at a later date. I did not see but one multi-stem Silver maple. There were still a lot of leaves on the Sycamores and Silver Maples but not the Cottonwoods. The height measuring was not as easy as I anticipated. Other tress noted but not measured include: Yellow Buckeye (tops blown out), Red Mulberry, Crateagus sp., and Dogwood.
The trees measured were on the developed upriver end of the Island which is maintained understory free by mowing. There is a Walnut plantation established in the 1930’s by a previous owner. The DBH in this plantation hovered around 25” but the tallest walnut was in this plantation.
The Rucker Index for the ten tallest species is 91.6'. I covered maybe 50 acres of this 500+ acre island which is about 5 miles long. Because of the islands past exploitation I would not expect to find very many exceptional trees but who knows.


Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Turner Sharp
Pictured Susan Sharp and a Sycamore with a Circumference at 5' at 23.2'


Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Turner Sharp
Pictured Susan Sharp and a Paw Paw with a CBH of 2.8'
This Paw Paw will probably make the WV Big Tree list since the previous ones are all dead.

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James Parton
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Re: Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park

Post by James Parton » Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:38 am

Damn what an impressive sycamore! Awesome. It is a beautiful tree.
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edfrank
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Re: Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park

Post by edfrank » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:24 pm

Turner,

Excellent post. You never can really tell if there will be big trees in places that have been impacted by people in the past. Some of the biggest trees of many species will grow really fast under the right conditions. Very nice sycamore.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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edfrank
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Re: Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park

Post by edfrank » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:28 pm

I really can't resist reposting this note because of teh proximity to Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park:

George Washington as part of surveying trip was traveling down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh in a large dugout canoe with other travelers looking at potential settlement areas for soldiers describes a large specimen he encountered near present day Point Pleasant, WV. The large sycamore he describes below was near the junction of the Ohio & Kenhawa Rivers:
"November 4th, 1770
After passing these hills, which may run on the river near a mile, there appears to be another pretty good bottom on the east side, - At this place we met a canoe going to Illinois with sheep, and at this place also, that is, at the end of the bottom from the Kenhawa, just as we came to the hills, we met with a sycamore about 60yards from the river, of a most extraordinary size; it measuring 3ft from the ground, and 45ft round, lacking 2 inches; and not 50yards from it was another, 31ft around. After passing this bottom, and about a mile of hills, we entered another bottom and encamped.- This bottom reaches within about a half mile of the rapid, at the point of the Great Bend."
19511.gif
This is a copy of the actual page from George Washington's Journal. The quoted passage begins about halfway down the page.

Washington, George. 1770. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Diaries of George Washington. The Diaries of George Washington. Vol. II. 1766-70. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gwhtml/gwhome.html
http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mgw/mgwd/wd02/0326.gif
http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mgw/mgwd/wd02/0327.gif
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?co ... recNum=194

Accessed February 18, 2011.


Ed Frank

.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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tsharp
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Re: Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park

Post by tsharp » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:06 pm

Ed. Thanks for re-posting the links to Washington's journals. While I was on the Island this last fall I met Dr Ray Swick who is a WV Parks historian. We spent a little time going through their collection of tree pictures from the past. Most of the big trees photographed on the were multi-stemmed Sycamores. He has some documentation of when the pictures were taken and some size measurements. When time permits I will go back a make a better survey of what they have.
This area still has place names in remembrance of our future president and his land speculation activities in this area. Examples are Washington, WV - with Post office, Washington Run, Washington Bottom which is probably where the large Dupont plant is located.
To make sure you have the geography correct. The confluence of the Kanawha River and Ohio River at Point Pleasant, WV is at river mile 265.6 and the confluence of the Little Kanawha River at Parkersburg, WV is at river mile 191.8. The river miles are calculated from the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers Pittsburgh. Sometimes the Kanawha River is call the Great or Big Kanawha. Over the years the spelling has varied and the pronunciation give people fits.

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edfrank
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Re: Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park

Post by edfrank » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:18 pm

I guess I got the wrong confluence. It is difficult when dealing with older documents and maps at times. The names even on the islands I am working with on the Allegheny River have changed significantly since the 1855 map of the river. Many of the smaller streams have changed names many times through the years.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:42 am

Crap!!! I was RIGHT THERE last year! Passed the park no less than three times!!! If I'd had any idea there were trees like that in the park I'd have gone! Damn!

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