Along the New River Gorge

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Along the New River Gorge

Post by tsharp » Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:09 am

I spent a full day along the New River Gorge area on 11/1/2016.
First stop was at a private residence at near the intersection of Gatewood Road and Cunard Road near Fayetteville, WV. I had spotted some sizable Catalpa yard trees sometime ago and today I found someone home.
Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonoides) 71.8’ x 174.4”(14.5’) x 66.8’ CS – two axis method.
The house and tree is located on plateau above the gorge at an elevation of 1950’. The property is presently used as an equestrian center and offers horseback rides throughout the gorge.

Next effort was a hike back to the Stonecliff Old Growth Stand. This site is on National Park Service Land was dedicated into the Old Growth Forest Network last spring.
The site is 2.7 mile hike upriver along the Stonecliff Trail which heads up at the Stonecliff River Access site which is on river left (descending) near Thurmond, WV.

Largest of trees measured included:
Yellow-poplar (Lirodendron tulipifera) 128.7’
Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra var. rubra) 107.3’
Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muhlenbergii) 92.2’
Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis) 90.5’
Black Maple (Acer nigrum) 86.9’
All trees measured were entered in the Trees Database.
The site is 12 acres+, East facing at 1300 ‘ – 1500’ elevation with slopes to 110%

The hike is easy in dry weather even though there are still a few mushy areas even in the present dry regime. In wet weather I have had to cross side streams calf deep.
It was not good conditions to measure tree heights. The oaks were still in full foliage, somewhat windy, and the millions of gnats were annoying with the less numerous black flies still hungry.
The only tree heights measured were ones of convenience due to visibility. The steep slope and hard dry ground with some leaves and acorns made footing a challenge. A two person crew would be better for measuring circumference, especially if they had some billy goat abilities.
Bigger trees were observed and this site deserves a more thorough visit.
The existence of Chinkapin Oak indicates limestone which must be upslope. I did not observe any while hiking.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Along the New River Gorge

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:28 pm

Turner- Sounds like a beautiful place to hike and explore. That's larger than any Southern Catalpa that I've ever seen. Larry

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