Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Project documenting the old growth and special forests along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shennandoah National Park in Virginia and North Carolina.

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dbhguru
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Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by dbhguru » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:32 pm

ENTS,

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, while on our Virginia tour, Monica suggested that it was time to begin writing a book about exceptional forest sites along the Blue Ridge Parkway. If the job is to be done and done right, we are the ones to do it. It could be an ENTS project. Monica and I would be willing to do the lion's share of the work. We would focus attention on:

Gnarly old growth on craggy summits that we all love

The big/tall trees

Exemplary forest communities

All old growth

Since we have mile posts, we would organize the book by milepost going north to south. That would be more climactic. Most hikes would start on the Parkway and would be cover less than 3 miles roundtrip. We would have a few longer ones that would use the Parkway as a beginning access. I'm thinking of the Priest Wilderness Area in VA, the trail up Mount Mitchell, the trail down into Walker Cove from Craggy Gardens, etc.

I would contact Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway and others who could offer advice and maybe help.

Who among you would be interested in working on the book? Will and James, I assume you two would be in.

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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James Parton
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Re: Future ENTS Projects

Post by James Parton » Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:49 pm

Bob,

Yes, I am in. The Parkway is awesome!
Parkway Tag.jpg
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James
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by edfrank » Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:56 pm

Bob,

Would the project include just the Blue Ridge Parkway, or would it alos include the section of the road in Sehennandoah National Park i.e. The Skyline Drive? There is nice old groth in this section and some 300+ year old hemlock logs killed by the HWA in the early 2000's along one trail, and several natural areas worth noting in Shennandoah. It is physically, geologically, and highway-wise simply the northernmost section of the Blue Ridge parkway.

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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James Parton
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by James Parton » Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:59 pm

Ed,

I too would consider Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway as one. Practically speaking...

JP
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by edfrank » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:22 pm

Blue Ridge Parkway


Blue Ridge Parkway Map
http://www.nps.gov/PWR/customcf/apps/ma ... %20Parkway

Our park newspaper is a supplement to the "Directory and Travel Planner" published by the Blue Ridge Parkway Association. You may pick up a copy at visitor centers or at many off-site Parkway locations. View it on-line here.
http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/u ... 2-3-09.pdf 16.79 MB

History of The Parkway
http://www.blueridgeparkway75.org/more- ... d/history/
Adapted from Highways in Harmony: Designing and Building The Blue Ridge Parkway. Text by Richard Quinn. Originally published by the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), a division of the National Park Service, US Department of the Interior.)

"The Blue Ridge Parkway is many things. It is the longest road planned as a single unit in the United States. It is an elongated park, protecting significant mountain landscapes far beyond the shoulders of the road itself. It is a series of parks providing the visitor access to high mountain passes, splendid natural “gardens” of flowering mountain plants, waterfalls and water gaps, deep forests and upland meadows. It is a continuous series of panoramic views, the boundaries of its limited right-of-way rarely apparent and miles of the adjacent countryside seemingly a part of the protected scene."
Parkway Proposal
http://www.blueridgeparkway75.org/more- ... d/history/
Construction of the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park was the chief inspiration for the Blue Ridge Parkway. When President Franklin Roosevelt visited the project in 1933, Virginia Senator Harry Flood Byrd recommended the roadway be extended southwest to the new Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Roosevelt eagerly endorsed the proposal, and the governors of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee appointed a planning team to bring the project to fruition. On November 24, 1933, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes approved the construction of the new “Park-to-Park Highway” as a public works project.

Ickes authorized $4 million of public works funds to begin construction and hired Stanley L. Abbott, a landscape architect with New York’s Westchester County parkway system, to oversee planning for the project. Abbott’s role in the Parkway’s development was all encompassing. He promoted the concept of the Parkway as a chain of parks and recreational areas, each a destination in itself. He also suggested preserving views beyond the Parkway boundaries through the use of scenic easements and presented the motorist with carefully crafted, ever-changing pictures of Appalachian scenery and culture. Abbott is remembered as the “father of the Blue Ridge Parkway.”
Biology of the Blue Ridge Parkway
http://www.nps.gov/blri/naturescience/index.htm
Along this route an unsurpassed diversity of climate zones, vegetation zones, physiographic zones, and geological features are traversed. The more than 81,000 acres of Parkway lands pass through a highland area of five degrees longitude and approximately 3 degrees latitude, making it the third largest unit of the National Park Service in terms of area covered. Park resources include 600 streams (150 headwaters), 47 Natural Heritage Areas (areas set aside as national, regional or state examples of exemplary natural communities), a variety of slopes and exposures, and possibly 100 different soil types. With an elevation range of 5,700 feet the Parkway provides a home for both southern species at the lower elevations and northern species on the mountaintops.

Taking advantage of this diversity are 14 major vegetation types, about 1,600 vascular plant species (50 threatened or endangered), and almost 100 species of non-native plants. More than 130 species of trees grow along the Parkway, about as many as are found in all of Europe. Added to that are estimates of almost 400 species of mosses and nearly 2000 species of fungi.

Not to be outdone by the plants, many species of animals make their homes along the Parkway. Seventy-four different mammals, more than 50 salamanders and 35 reptiles can be found on Parkway lands. One hundred fifty-nine species of birds are known to nest here with dozens of others passing through during fall and spring migrations.
..
"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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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by dbhguru » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:10 pm

ENTS,

Skyline Drive in Shenandoah NP is 110 miles long. It joins to the Blue Ridge Parkway at its southern end. Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway provide 579 miles of continuous mountain driving. Back in the early 1970s I spent many weekends in Shenandoah and am comfortable including it. Monica and I covered most of Skyline Drive on our way back.

James,

I was pretty sure that you'd go for the proposed book. We've got lots of trouble to cover before we're ready to hit the road. I think it can be lots of fun.

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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edfrank
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by edfrank » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:06 pm

Bob,

Are you really sure you want this to be a group or collaborative project rather than just a project of your own? You seem to have thought about what you want to do and are planning on doing the bulk of the work yourself.

How would you envision this collaborative effort be pursued? Would people go on trips and do reports for a particular section of the parkway? Would the data be compiled through emails or through a section of the BBS? I could create a project forum that would be public or even hidden except for project members.

Would the book include maps and photos as well as descriptions? Is there a particular format for reports that would be more appropriate than another? What information do you see being included when talking about a particular patch of old growth or gnarled forest?

Organization by mile markers is what I was thinking as well for dealing with this essentially linear feature. I would start by breaking down the parkway into smaller segments and compile what information is generally available for each segment. For example would pull a map of that segment. next step would be to generate a list of features found there. Trails, buildings, or other notable characteristics would cataloged. Then we could go back through the reports made to list previously and incorporate them into the information compilation for that particular section. Air photos and maps of particular features could be downloaded from the web and organized similarly.

If there are distinctive characteristics that can be mapped on the air photos, then these characteristics could be mapped and then ground truthed in the field on a future trip.

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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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by Don » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:40 am

Bob-
What a great project!
What came to mind for me was what a perfect task for a GIS to incorporate...Beluzo, whattaya think?
-Don
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by dbhguru » Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:11 am

Ed, James, Don,

I've been thinking of two basic approaches, a largely solo effort with some help from others and a collaborative effort that uses multiple authors who would each take ownership of a section of Parkway. There would be narrative, photos, and maps. There are obvious pros and cons to each approach.

The plus of me doing it as a solo effort is consistency in style. The downside is the enormous effort of a book undertaking - the sheer amount of time that it takes when original material is being generated.

I would like to hear the pros and cons as seen through the eyes of each of you with an interest in the project.

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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James Parton
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by James Parton » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:16 pm

Bob,

I think both could be done. I agree with consistency of style. You would be preferred at that since you really have a way with words. But yes, having others who can explore and write on assigned sections of the Parkway would work. We can get the data and descriptions and you can edit and put it together. That way it will be consistent and while you will head the project you don't have to do everything. You would be the author and editor while the ENTS involved would be co-authors.

James.
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