Spruce Run Road, Clinton County, PA

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Spruce Run Road, Clinton County, PA

Post by edfrank » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:05 pm


On March 19, 2010 I met Lyn Greenaway to check out a reported old growth forest patch in Bald Eagle State Forest in southern Clinton County, Pennsylvania.
Ernie Ostuno had reported the site a few years ago. He reported, "I found a couple acres of previously undocumented old growth on Bald Eagle State Forest land a few years ago. I notified the forest district. We should lobby the state DNR to have small pockets of old growth declared natural areas or some other designation that recognizes their unique character." Cut and paste this lat/lon into Google maps: 41.072978,-77.363276 That's where the parcel of old trees are but there are scattered old trees all long the southern part of Spruce Run Road."
We met shortly after 9:00 am nearby and drove to the site. The area contains a nice section of hemlock, but I must report we did not find anything I would call old growth. Perhaps if I visit again I can look further upstream along Spruce Run to see if I missed some older trees, but I am not optimistic. The area Lyn and I investigated, around where the pin mark is on the map, had a relatively young hemlock dominated patch of forest, with scattered white, red, and chestnut oaks a few white pines, and yellow and white birch trees. The diameters tended to be less than 16 inches i diameter across the area. There was a section of white oak in that diameter range cut along the roadway. A rough ring count found it to be approximately 100 years old. I would estimate that to the age of the largest trees in the stand.
The possible exception to this age limit was an old looking black gum near the bottom of the stream valley. It had thick and platy bark generally indicative of age. I am unsure why this tree would have been spared when the rest of the site was cut. It is possible that it may not be as old as its appearance would suggest.
Also of note in the stand is the presence of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid infesting many of the hemlocks. HWA is an invasive insect originally from Asia that has devastated the bot eastern and carolina hemlocks across southeastern United States. The insect is moving northward and westward leaving vast areas of dead hemlock snags behind. I did not see any mortality from the HWA at this site. It usually kills the older and bigger trees first. The younger trees seem more resilient and survive longer before succumbing to the pest. Many of the trees even in early spring had foliage significantly thinned by the HWA. Below are some close up photos of some the egg sacs clinging to the branches.
I was having problems with my range finder, so I did not measure that many trees, and those for which I do have measurements are likely somewhat taller than listed. (The battery was not making good contact as one of the terminals was bent. Hence, I could not get a bounce from the taller thiner twigs a the very top of the trees.)
Common Species Girth (inches) Height (feet) GPS

Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica) 89" 104.5' 42 09.944 -80 06.823 old looking
White Pine (Pinus strobus) 99" 111.0'
Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadiensis) 59" 86.8'
Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana) 59" 85.5'
White Ash (Fraxinus americana) 61" 91.2'
Red Oak (Quercus rubra) 93" 87.0'
Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis) 35" 48.0'
White Birch 53" 63'

I want to thank Lyn for meeting me there on this trip. I am going to post a note about the HWA in the invasive insects section of the BBS.

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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James Parton
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Re: Spruce Run Road, Clinton County, PA

Post by James Parton » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:11 pm


It's nice to see you get out and do a trip report. I am sure it feels good getting out from in front of the computer once in a while.

That orange jacket is definitly you!

James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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