Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

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Larry Tucei
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Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

Post by Larry Tucei » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:54 am

NTS, I traveled up to my annual hunting trip to northern Wisconsin on the 13 of November but this year I decided to do a little sightseeing. Once I got in to southern Wis., I turned northeast and went through Milwaukee, then stopped at Port Washington to see Lake Michigan and a Lighthouse. Next it was on to Lambeau Field in Green Bay. I then stopped at Crivitz Wis., a small town 20 miles from the U.P. The next morning it was on to the real purpose of my visit, the Cathedral Pines near Townsend Wis. One of our members Paul Jost from Wis., has reported on this grove of 200-400 year old White Pine, mixed with Hemlock and Red Pine back in 2010. His post inspired me to visit this one of a kind place. “On September 4, 2010, my wife, my son, and I visited the Cathedral Pines grove in the Nicolet National Forest near Lakewood in north eastern Wisconsin's Oconto County. I intended to re-measure the two tallest known eastern white pine trees in the grove. The area is a virgin grove that was set aside by the Holt and Balcom Logging Company around 1880 when Lucy Rumsey Holt, the wife of W.A. Holt, the company president, asked that the tract be spared so that she could continue to conduct bible study classes with her children there. Pines are now reported in the 200-400 year old range.

The grove is a part of a larger State Natural Area and has a popular hiking trail looping through it. It is the largest dense white pine grove in Wisconsin and is dominated by eastern white pine with many in the range of 9-10 feet in girth and 125-135 feet tall. There are some red pine to 90-100 feet tall and many hemlocks under 100 feet. The forest also contains a significant beech-maple-yellow birch component along with some red oak, aspen, as well as some other trees. The entire approximately 22 acre virgin pine grove is at an elevation of approximately 1340 feet, plus or minus 10 feet. With over 100 nests, a great blue heron rookery's droppings are killing off the taller trees on the highest ground but make for an enhanced experience during visits in May and June before the fledglings leave the nests in early July. It is a nesting site for ovenbirds, blackburnian, magnolia, and pine warblers; the best time to visit for tall tree hunting is mid-October through the first week of May when the deciduous sub-canopy is not a visual obstacle. On the coldest winter days, visitors are virtually nonexistent while the grove effectively tames light winds so that the bitter temperatures are more tolerable.”
http://dnr.wi.gov/Org/land/er/sna/index.asp?SNA=496
http://wpt.org/inwisconsin/onthetrail.cfm I spent about 2 ½ hours at this fantastic place a must visit for all if in that area. I parked at the Trailhead and walked up onto the small hill of the largest White Pine grove that one could imagine. I measured several Whites to 120’s – 130’s, Hemlocks to 96’ and Red Pine to 126’. Like Paul reported in his earlier post most Pines are in the 8’6”- 10’ 4” CBH range with heights to 140’. It was such a beautiful serene place that I could have stayed there forever. The grove was located on and around two small hilltops with drainage on the west and northern edges. The two taller Whites are growing in the drainage just west of the first hillside. Wow was I excited when I shot straight up on the first one and got 150’. I then backed away and using the NTS measuring method I got a height of 154.8’ on the first tree nearest the hill and 156.2’ on the second tree which is leaning slightly to the east. Wow was it thrilling to measure White Pines with such height. The CBH were also impressive the first at 12’ 2” and the second 10’. The larger Pines had the deeply furrowed bark characteristics and the first limbs were at over 100 feet above the ground. The temperature was in the mid 30’s that morning with a light north wind and perfect for tree hunting. I took several photos on the hill of White Pine, Hemlock, and Red Pine. The last photos are of the two big boys. Larry
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dbhguru
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Re: Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

Post by dbhguru » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:36 pm

Larry,

A fine report and congratulations on the 150s. You have now entered a very special club, the club of Ents who have confirmed great whites in the 150-foot class and above. I predict that you will sleep better at night as a consequence.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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bbeduhn
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Re: Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

Post by bbeduhn » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:26 am

Bob,
I'm not so sure about the sleeping better part. After a 150', you just want to get a 160', and so on...and so on.

Beautiful forest! It's awesome that there are 150's that far north.
Brian

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DonCBragg
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Re: Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

Post by DonCBragg » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:50 pm

I have visited Cathedral Pines for years--I think state law required foresters from Wisconsin to visit this stand of timber!! And Lambeau Field, too! The few remaining stands of old white pine helped me get interested in forestry as a career...

<<NOTE: IT WAS POINTED OUT TO ME THAT THIS PICTURE WAS NOT TAKEN IN WISCONSIN, AND DOES NOT SHOW A STAND OF VIRGIN WHITE PINE, AS I INDICATED...THEREFORE, I'VE DELETED THE PHOTO (BUT NOT THE REST OF THIS POST, WHICH IS STILL TRUE>>
Last edited by DonCBragg on Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

Post by Larry Tucei » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:45 pm

Don, Holy cow! Those are some monsters. I love looking at the old photos of trees. It is really amazing how large the trees of North America were before logging began. Larry

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AndrewJoslin
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Re: Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

Post by AndrewJoslin » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:33 pm

Once again, you have to wonder what the max height potential is for white pine when you compare the trunks on Larry's fine plus 150's and the massive!!! trunks in the pre 1900's photo.
-AJ

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Rand
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Re: Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

Post by Rand » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:31 pm

Larry Tucei wrote:Don, Holy cow! Those are some monsters. I love looking at the old photos of trees. It is really amazing how large the trees of North America were before logging began. Larry
I remember one of the news items on this board was a guy trying to collect the genetics of prized tree specimens all across the country. He commented that after 200 years of high grading what we have left is 'the junk of the junk of the junk'. I thought he was being hyperbolic, but perhaps not as much as I'd like to think.

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Will Blozan
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Re: Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

Post by Will Blozan » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:57 pm

RE: the old photo:

Bark looks weird in some trees in background. One could be incense cedar and ponderosa or Jeffery pine? Of course, could be red pine but the back right sinuous tree does not ring eastern at all. Could this be a stand of P. lambertiana?

Just always suspicious of old photos claiming trees of dimensions no longer found...

Will

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Bart Bouricius
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Re: Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

Post by Bart Bouricius » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:07 pm

Impressive Larry,

I know how you feel, like when Bob and I and Ryan measured the 150' + Tulip trees that Ryan had discovered in Connecticut.

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DonCBragg
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Re: Cathedral Pines Wisconsin

Post by DonCBragg » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:26 pm

Interesting thought, Will...I hadn't looked too closely at some of the trees in the way back. The one looked like a red pine to me, but I can't really tell what the other one is... I got this picture from a print that my parents had hanging in their house (and now hanging in my house) that they purchased from the Marathon County Historical Museum. They were willing to part with their copy because they were able to buy a new print from the same group. The Marathon County Historical Museum, at least as of a few years ago, had been using that image to promote the historic forest condition of the area. I have not personally seen the original, nor heard details of the "back story", so I was largely taking their word for it... As big as these pines are, they are within the realm of possibility for eastern white pine in Wisconsin. Note there was no claim as to any dimensions on these trees...I think the ones in the foreground look especially large because they are especially close. I will continue to look into this picture to see if there is any other information I can dig up on it to validate or invalidate its claims...

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