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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James Parton
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Future ENTS Projects

Post by James Parton » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:45 pm

Bob,

I really like the idea of a Parkway guide. You have already got me thinking about it. On how to collect data on it. Milepost by milepost. An example that comes immediatly to mind is the abundant American Chestnuts near Mt. Pisgah. Near the Pisgah Inn. I would find that important. People like the USFS and TACF know of it but it is largely unknown to the public masses. The book could change that and draw attention to the effort to restore the American Chestnut to our forests. Other things to highlight are old growth remnants, Spruce-Fir forests and drawing attention to remaining surviving Hemlock groves. More public awareness could benefit the hemlocks pressing the Park Service to treat more trees. I could go on and on.

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

Post by edfrank » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:03 pm

Bob,

The most important factor is determining what preferences you have when working on a project. If something is started either on your own, or as part of a collaborative effort and you are unhappy or uncomfortable with how things are progressing, will the project still be completed? Or will it just sort of trail off? I am not a great group person. In high school and college I always hated group projects and assignments more than anything else. Instead of these being a way to do my portion of a project, it always seemd I was doing all of the work and others were getting the credit, or else if I did not do the majority the resuts were unsatisfactory. I have tried here in ENTS to get others to participate in discussions of subjects and to be more of a team player, but that is not my strong point. Other people like working as part of the group where they can add their strengths to the team effort. I would try to do that as part of this effort on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I think the way to do it would be for different people to describe the sites along the parkway that they visit, collect measurements, and take photos. Then these could be reworked by yourself to provide the document with a single voice in terms of style. The other option would be to leave some sections as written by the origina author and you would write transition pieces connecting these sections with those site descriptions you have written yourself.

Some sections could stand alone - say a section looking at the overall history of the park could be a separate chapter by a separate author. I could write an overview of the geology of the parkway as a separate section. These could stand alone or could be rewritten to create a common style for the entire book.

James, could you go through the trip reports you have made regarding sites that are along the Parkway or Shennandoah National Park? You could list posts by others that you find as well. The list should be the location name, approximate mile marker, and weblink for the report on the website or Google List for ones not yet transferred to the website. I have one or two posts from the area. I think the first step should be to compile the information we have collected already.

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 edfrank » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:24 pm

Bob, ENTS,

I have posted two short descriptions from Shennandoah National Park I have more details on the one from April 2008 as well as more and full sized photos to go with the descriptions.

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... ark_va.htm
April 18, 2008
Keyser Run Road Area - Mile 19
Hemlock Springs Overlook - Mile 39
Limberlost Trail - Mile 43

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... l_park.htm
July 2005
Some backgorund info on HWA and forests but no site descriptions.

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

Post by James Parton » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:17 pm

Ed,

What you mentioned in your second paragraph is pretty much the idea I had in mind.

" I think the way to do it would be for different people to describe the sites along the parkway that they visit, collect measurements, and take photos. Then these could be reworked by yourself to provide the document with a single voice in terms of style. The other option would be to leave some sections as written by the original author and you would write transition pieces connecting these sections with those site descriptions you have written yourself. "

Yeah, I will look through and find all my posts on the ENTS website and Google Group archive. I know I have several posts that are on or very near the Parkway. Give me just a little time to collect them and I will post them collectively to the BBS. I am sure ENTS has more info on sites on or near the Parkway than we think. On future posts I will also list the mile marker location too.

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

Post by James Parton » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:45 pm

Hey, Ed.

A new catagory could be created on the BBS to collect all the Parkway related posts for the book project. It is just an idea.

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

Post by edfrank » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:33 am

Bob,

I found this reference to the forests i Shennanadoah National Park:

The park has a long history of logging. The park website http://www.nps.gov/shen/naturescience/forests.htm
"Surveys in 1940 and the late 1980s show that the forests of Shenandoah National Park have changed dramatically in 50 years. The changes include the percentage of forested lands, and the ages, sizes, and species of trees. In 1940, Shenandoah was a young park. It was authorized by act of Congress in 1926 and established in 1935. For almost 200 years prior to park establishment people had harvested and used the resources of these mountains. Timbering, grazing, hunting, and cultivation ceased when these lands became a national park. In 1940 the park was 85% forested. The rest of the park was open ground, including grasslands, cultivated fields, and old fields reverting to forest. Previously grazed areas were being occupied by bear oaks and pitch pines. By 1990 the park was 95% forested. In the more mature forest, bear oak stands had disappeared and pitch pine numbers had dwindled. In 1940 there were no yellow poplar stands and cove hardwoods covered only 6% of the area. By 1990, yellow poplar stands covered 16% of the park and cove hardwoods covered 15%. These forest types grow in moist sites. Their increase is evidence of more organic matter in the soil and more adjacent protective forest canopy cover. In 1940 chestnut oaks and northern red oaks covered 72% of the park. By 1990, their numbers were down to 59%. Since 1990 repeated defoliation by non-native gypsy moth caterpillars has contributed to the deaths of even more oaks."
The one reference listed on the page is as follows:

Berg, L.Y. and R.B. Moore. 1941. Forest cover types of Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. July 1941. USDI-NPS, Region One.

I would think a copy of this document might indicate where forests were present in 1940, ad where they has since regrown. I wonder if a similar document might be found for the rest of teh parkway, or earlier assessments for either area? Where could we obtaina copy - likely the park has a library.

Check out this link: https://www.nps.gov/shen/historyculture ... dscape.htm

Beginning in 1934 the ECW (CCC) program hired an Assistant Forester, R. B. Moore, to assess the condition of the proposed park area. Over the next several years, using the labor of CCC enrollees, Moore mapped the forest or vegetative cover on 172,828 acres of the proposed park. Dividing the land into watersheds, Moore defined 16 forest cover 6 types and five age classes.7 Known forest fires were also mapped. The data were published on May 29, 1937 as "Forest Type Map Write-Up by Watersheds, Shenandoah National Park."

The broad status of the park lands was summarized in the "Acreages of Forest Types and Burns" (below). Moore showed that the mountains were not "stripped of cover," but in fact only 14.52% of the park acreage was open, either as cultivated or pasture land. Also of interest is that forest fires since 1930 had burned between 61.9% - 85.8% of the pine communities (which represented 17.71% of the forest cover) and 25.7% of the total park acreage.

Cover Type
Total Acreage (% of Park Total)
Acreage Burned 1930-1937
Percent of Type 1930-1937

Cove Hardwood
8,333 (5.0%)
348
4.1

White Pine/Hardwood
828 (0.5%)
37
4.4

Oak/Hickory
4,020 (2.3%)
817
20.3

Mixed Oak
87,342 (50.5%)
15,689
17.9

Chestnut Oak
20,457 (11.8%)
8,575
41.2

Yellow Pine/Hardwoods
17,439 (10.1%)
11,153
63.3

Yellow Pine/Bear Oak
7,841 (4.5%)
6.730
85.8

White Oak
138 (0.08%)
None
0.0

Mixed Oak/Fraser Fir
64 (0.04%)
None
0.0

Black Birch
83 (0.04%)
None
0.0

White Pine
83 (0.04%)
None
0.0

Virginia Pine
844 (0.49%)
523
61.9

Open
25,089 (14.5%)
294
1.1

Barren
267 (0.15%)
239
89.0

TOTAL
172,828
44,425
25.7

In the detailed descriptions of the watersheds, Moore discussed the existing vegetative associations, soil types and conditions, reproduction of species, fire hazard potential, insect and fungal pests, and past history. Although he recognized that much of the park had been logged in the past, he identified eleven watersheds, or parts of watersheds, that retained significant forest communities with no evidence of previous logging activity: Hogwallow Flats, Hogback (south side), Beahms Gap (south and east sides), Pass Run to Shaver Hollow (upper slopes), the Robinson River watershed, Staunton River8, Big Run, Loft Mountain (east side), Hangman Run, Devils Ditch and the Upper Conway River, and the lower slopes of Cedar Mountain. Although these areas indicated no evidence of former logging, many did show the effects of the wildfires that swept across the mountain in 1930, 1931, and 1932, possibly aggravated by the worst drought in Virginia history.

In 1937 Darwin Lambert, clearly aware of Moore’s CCC forest study, wrote:

Seven-eighths of the ShenandoahNational Park is covered by a green blanket
of forest. This forest is composed of approximately eighty species of trees, at
least that many more shrubs and vines, and almost countless kinds of smaller
plants . . . . Throughout the entire area, in nearly all kinds of environments,the oaks are the most common. These oaks are of about ten different species.
Chestnut oak is probably the most numerous, but there are many splendid
white and red oak trees.14
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dbhguru
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by dbhguru » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:28 am

ENTS,

So far, there hasn't been much discussion on the idea of an ENTS book covering the Blue Ridge Parkway. Ed Frank has thoughtfully posted on it. Ed is always in there when ideas are being batted around. Don Bertolette has acknowledged the book project's value. Our buddies James Parton and Larry Tucei Jr. are interested in contributing. Will Blozan is definitely interested in the project. I recently discussed it with him by phone.

I acknowledge that an ENTS book would be no small undertaking. Are we stretching too far? Maybe, but I don't think so. I am personally committed to producing something, but am open to suggestions on how best to proceed. As a last resort, Monica and I will tackle the project solo. However, I certainly want to keep the door open to participation by those of you who desire to contribute. So, naturally I'm pleased at Will's, James's, and Larry's interest, and Ed can always be counted on to be a productive contributing member. But I am sure there are others who could make valuable contributions to an ENTS book. One way that members could contribute would be to check out a particular location and collect data on it. Concentrate on one or two sites. Don't worry, there's plenty of opportunity. The Parkway never gets truly crowded. It is 469 miles in length and with Shenandoah NP, that length is extended to 579 miles. It has many plant communities, lots of old growth spots, and hidden tree treasures that await our cameras and measuring and descriptive talents.

As an ENTS-wide undertaking, a Parkway book could be lots of fun, though a lot of work and coordination. It would take several years to complete. I will soon contact people associated with Shenandoah NP and the Parkway and discuss the project with them. If we can get the administrations of these properties behind us, lots of doors will open. I also plan to contact Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Beyond these three sources, there are important individuals in Virginia and North Carolina who would back the book. I'm sure of that. I know a number who are supporting the idea.

One fact that excites me about the project is that it would cover the most visited NP property in the U.S. The Blue Ridge Parkway gets 20 million visitors per year. Other heavily visited properties are about 1/4th that. Because of the Parkway's popularity, book sales are virtually guaranteed and there is no competition. Nobody does what we do. That is not me boasting, it is an indisputable fact.

When I think about all the talent and energy we have in ENTS that is evident from the BBS, our former lists, past projects we've been involved in, the credentials of members, I am always amazed and humbled. But I fear our energies maybe too scattered to allow ENTS to truly make its mark in the way we're capable of doing. BBS or list comradery is great. I love it, but we can spread ourselves too thin unless we select so worthwhile projects and get ourselves focused. In the end, it isn't about exploiting some cute new Internet technology to offer another tidbit the the cyberspace gods. That effort becomes lost in the terabytes. We need to select some high profile projects and get them done. I believe a book on the Parkway would be the best candidate to use our skills and reach a large audience.

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

Post by Don » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:37 pm

Bob-
As a retired Park Service employee of a Park with about 20% of what the BRP gets, I worry that actions that increase visitation will result in the Park being "loved to death". In too quick a scan, I assumed that you'd be putting together a coffee table kind of photo extravaganza with the wonderful prose that you, and others, have shown skill at.

I wonder though, about a mile by mile, point-out-trail-to-get-there-kind-of-detail...
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, VA & NC -Future ENTS Projects

Post by edfrank » Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:25 pm

Don wrote:As a retired Park Service employee of a Park with about 20% of what the BRP gets, I worry that actions that increase visitation will result in the Park being "loved to death". In too quick a scan, I assumed that you'd be putting together a coffee table kind of photo extravaganza with the wonderful prose that you, and others, have shown skill at.

I wonder though, about a mile by mile, point-out-trail-to-get-there-kind-of-detail...
Don,

I must disagree with your overall assessment of the Blue Rodge Parkway situation. I understand the concerns you have expressed about over-usage of areas of the park. I expressed to Bob similar comments to the effect that While I thought all of the old growth forests should be mentioned, that the emphasis should be on those areas that are already developed for public use - meaning along the existing trails and overlooks. I really doubt that listing these forests will have much of an impact on the usage of the highway. Most people visiting the parkway are looking for a nice drive on their way to a particular destination like Grandfather Mountain. I don't see the parkway becoming a destination because of the old tree reports to any large degree.

People go on these short hikes to see a particular view or waterfall, then walk back to the car and go to the next stop. These hikes are typically a quick in and out type of experience. What the book would contribute is that it would talk about the forests through which these trails pass. it would give people a chance to "notice" the old trees and the related ecosystems. Things are often not even noticed until they are pointed out to them. People would have more of an experience as they hike along, rather than just have a quick in and out. I think the greater degree of environmental awareness created among the general public by the proposed book would outweigh the marginal increase in traffic along the trails. I believe better documentation of the old growth and gnarled forests would also allow the resource to be better managed by the Park Service. The presence of the old growth and special forests could be taken into consideration when planning for future projects, or vegetative treatments. You can't effectively plan to protect old growth forests from deleterious impacts if you do not know they are present. The public can't effectively comment on issues involving the park if they are not aware of the areas of old growth and how these areas might e affected by any proposed action.

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 edfrank » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:21 pm

ENTS, I sent this post to Bob a few days ago. I wanted to repost it here as part of the documentation of the Project concept.

Bob,

Since your phone call the other day I have been thinking about your proposal to do a book about the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have been reading materials on the internet about the parkway and rereading accounts of visits to the area. In particular I have reread the posts you made about the Parkway on your trip to and from the Kentucky conference in 2007. It is clear from your writing that you are intimately familiar with at least the southern portion of the parkway and have a fondness for this area. I think the project s eminently doable. You are describing special forests from every high peak in the southern part of the parkway in a conversational narrative. I am sure you combine descriptions of particular sites along the parkway made by other people into a cohesive whole. Some details would need to be worked out, but I would say full steam ahead for the concept. We should contact the National Park Service about working on the book. I have some specific comments.

I would really like to see the Skyline Driver and Shenandoah National Park included as part of the project. Perhaps this section overall is not as spectacular as the southern parkway in terms of relief, but its inclusion is worthwhile for several reasons. First the Skyline drive is contiguous with the Blue Ridge Parkway. It follows the same ridgeline, the geology is similar, the history of land use is similar, and the forests are comparable. People coming from the north typically will travel down the Skyline drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and treat them as a single highway. An advantage of including the Skyline Drive is the fact that as part of Shenandoah National Park the area is better documented than is the area along the parkway. There are multiple reports dealing with the geology, the forests and the history of the park, while the materials relating to the parkway proper are much more limited. If the book is organized from north to south, this will along a much more detailed background to be prepared for the book than would be possible for just the parkway section.

This area of the road perhaps is not as spectacular as the southern parkway, but it does contain several outstanding examples of old growth and gnarled forests. Places like Old Rag are topographically prominent in the sense of the Peakbagger’s criteria. The height from the top to the base is several thousand feet and is very steep. In addition it has gnarled, old forests, ad some unique geology.
Forests of Shenandoah National Park

Today Shenandoah NP is greater than 95% forested. Over half of the land is dominated by either chestnut or red oak forests situated on the ridge tops and upper slopes. Mid-slope positions support areas of mixed hardwood forests that include maple (Acer spp.), birch (Betula spp.), ash (Fraxinus spp.), and basswood (Tilia americana) trees. Yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) forests are found on the lower slopes and along streams. Approximately 20% or 267 of the vascular plant species documented in the Park are trees or shrubs. These species are most noticeable when their leaves change color in the Fall, but can be appreciated all year long. Early spring finds serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) blooming, the white blossoms visible for long distances through the leafless forest. Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is one of the most common understory shrubs within the Park, and it is well known for its abundant pink blooms in June.
There are some older documents that would be worthwhile trying to locate.
http://www.nps.gov/shen/historyculture/ ... dscape.htm
Beginning in 1934 the ECW (CCC) program hired an Assistant Forester, R. B. Moore, to assess the condition of the proposed park area. Over the next several years, using the labor of CCC enrollees, Moore mapped the forest or vegetative cover on 172,828 acres of the proposed park. Dividing the land into watersheds, Moore defined 16 forest cover 6 types and five age classes.7 Known forest fires were also mapped. The data were published on May 29, 1937 as "Forest Type Map Write-Up by Watersheds, Shenandoah National Park."
In the detailed descriptions of the watersheds, Moore discussed the existing vegetative associations, soil types and conditions, reproduction of species, fire hazard potential, insect and fungal pests, and past history. Although he recognized that much of the park had been logged in the past, he identified eleven watersheds, or parts of watersheds, that retained significant forest communities with no evidence of previous logging activity: Hogwallow Flats, Hogback (south side), Beahms Gap (south and east sides), Pass Run to Shaver Hollow (upper slopes), the Robinson River watershed, Staunton River, Big Run, Loft Mountain (east side), Hangman Run, Devils Ditch and the Upper Conway River, and the lower slopes of Cedar Mountain. Although these areas indicated no evidence of former logging, many did show the effects of the wildfires that swept across the mountain in 1930, 1931, and 1932, possibly aggravated by the worst drought in Virginia history.
note: Although Moore stated that there was no evidence of former logging in the Staunton River watershed, basing his field determination on the evidence of stumps, it is known that narrow gauge railroad track was laid up the watershed for logging. Perhaps the loggers took downed trees and/or dead chestnuts which would not have left significant evidence of removal.
To summarize Moore (1937) identified these areas as old growth forest:

1. Hogwallow Flats

2. Hogback (south side),

3. Beahms Gap (south and east sides),

4. Pass Run to Shaver Hollow (upper slopes)

5. Robinson River watershed,

6. Staunton River,

7. Big Run,

8. Loft Mountain (east side),

9. Hangman Run,

10. Devils Ditch

11. Upper Conway River,

12. lower slopes of Cedar Mountain.



a. Moore, R. B. (1937). "Forest Type Map Write-Up by Watersheds, Shenandoah National Park."

b. Berg, L.Y. and R.B. Moore. (1941). Forest cover types of Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. July 1941. USDI-NPS, Region One.
Although the forests of the Northern Blue Ridge lack the floral diversity that is characteristic of the Southern Blue Ridge forest, the climate, topography, and geology gives rise to an interesting flora, including areas where some typically northern species reach their southern limit (Braun 1950; Mazzeo 1966b; Ludwig et al. 1993). For example, balsam fir, speckled alder (Alnus incana ssp. rugosa), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), Bebb's sedge (Carex bebbii), and bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) occur at or near their southern or southeastern range limit in SHEN (NPS 1998). In addition, gray birch (Betula populifolia), leathery grape-fern (Botrychium multifidum), hemlock parsley (Conioselinum chinense), highland rush (Juncus trifidus), mountain sandwort (Minuartia groenlandica), three-toothed cinquefoil (Sibbaldiopsis tridentata), white mandarin (Streptopus amplexifolius), and narrow false oats (Trisetum spicatum) are long-range boreal disjuncts occurring in isolated, high-elevation stations in SHEN. By contrast, catawba rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) reaches its northern limit in the park (NPS 1998).
In A NATURAL RESOURCE ASSESSMENT FOR SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK - Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR—2006/071 by Carolyn G. Mahan, December 2006 http://www.nps.gov/nero/science/FINAL/S ... Assess.htm
pdf2.pdf
Old Growth -Current Status and Significance: Due to past land-use history, the old-growth (>200 years old) stands that still persist in SHEN are few and small in size. Winstead (1995) described 13 areas in SHEN that may be classified as old-growth stands and 12 stands that may be old-growth or contain individual old-growth trees. Limberlost is perhaps the most famous and most frequently visited old-growth area in SHEN. Unfortunately, most of the old-growth trees in Limberlost died as a result of hemlock woolly adelgid infestation, and most standing dead hemlocks along the trail were removed in 2003. Other stands of old-growth forest are located along the Upper Staunton River and at the headwaters of Pocosin Run (Winstead 1995). The Upper Staunton River site was dominated by hemlocks and has also been decimated by the hemlock woolly adelgid. The Pocosin Run site is unique in that it is dominated by red oak and chestnut oak, rather than the more typical eastern hemlock and tuliptree overstory. Braun (1950) and Fievet et al. (2003) described White Oak Canyon as containing an extensive area of undisturbed forest at the time of park establishment. However, Winstead (1995) noted that no large stands of virgin timber had been identified in the canyon, although large oaks and hemlocks are found scattered along the White Oak Canyon Trail.
a. Winstead, R. 1995. Old-growth report: Shenandoah National Park. Working document. Shenandoah National Park. Luray, VA.

It would be worthwhile to try and obtain a copy of this Winstead (1995) document. It was a working document in 1995, but I have not found any place where it has been incorporated into any more recent reports.
Although Winstead (1995) documented many individual old-growth trees and stands in the park, he also identified several areas that still need to be visited to confirm the presence of old-growth trees. In addition, the exact age of many of the stands and individual trees is unknown because tree coring is not complete. Most investigation of potential old-growth sites in the park has been driven by the discovery of large trees. Other studies, however, have demonstrated that, on xeric sites, chestnut oaks of pedestrian size (< 40 cm dbh) may be 200–300 years old and that a number of xeric oak stands in the Central Appalachians have never been logged because of the poor growth form of their trees (Fleming and Moorhead 2000).
a. Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead. 2000. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Peters Mountain area, James River Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Richmond. 195 pp.

Certainly this would be another worthwhile document to obtain. It would be a second confirmation of the presence of the unidentified old growth oak systems we have both talked about along the ridgetops. Perhaps it would specifically identify other locations or provide additional information that would be helpful in this project.

There are other forested types that can be mentioned if there is access for the public along trails that would not adversely impact the resource:
Barrens, Boulderfields, and Exposed Rock Vegetation Types

Current Status and Significance: Due to the mountainous terrain at SHEN there are distinctive vegetation associations correlated with exposed and/or loose rock, infertile, minimal soils, and low moisture gradients. The plant species that are found on these locations vary depending on elevation, substrate type, soil type, aspect, and degree of exposure, but tend to occur as stunted forests, shrublands, or herbaceous vegetation, and are associated with diverse lichens and high (>50%) surface rock cover. Some examples of these associations present at SHEN include the Central Appalachian High-Elevation Boulderfield Forest, the High-Elevation Outcrop Barren, the High-Elevation Heath Barren, the Central Appalachian Basic Boulderfield Forest, and the globally rare and endemic High-Elevation Greenstone Barren (Young et al. 2005).
The High-Elevation Greenstone Barren vegetation association is endemic to SHEN and is found mostly above 1,000 m (3,281 ft) on exposed metabasalt (greenstone) cliffs and ledges. This vegetation type is listed as a G1 community (critically imperiled globally) by NatureServe and the Natural Heritage network. On lower slopes where massive exposures of Catoctin metabasalt (greenstone) occur at low elevations, eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and white ash are the characteristic trees associated with the Central Appalachian Circumneutral Barren (Massey 1968; Young et al. 2005). This vegetation association is also visible just outside park boundaries on steep or westerly facing slopes.
Pitch pine and table mountain pine exist as a climax community type on xeric sites along ridge lines throughout the Appalachians. These pines can persist as the dominant tree for several decades; however, fire is necessary for regeneration and recruitment at these sites. Periodic, high-intensity fires will deter hardwood species such as red oak species from invading, while encouraging germination of pine seeds. Futhermore, pine stands may regenerate from adjacent seed sources after fire, although the possibility of post-fire invasion of hardwoods, and subsequent replacement of pine, needs to be considered. Due to the severe conditions at these sites, nonnative plant competition is minimal.
In addition to these are isolated forests containing balsam fir and its associations. I believe there is a hiking trail along the parkway leading to a balsam fir forest.

There are open areas and fields – most notably Big meadows in Shenandoah National Park. These could be mentioned in passing as part of the north to south descriptions:
Big Meadows is a 53.6-ha (134 -ac), ridge-top meadow located at an elevation of 1,067 m (3,500 ft) along Skyline Drive in SHEN. Rare plant populations, historic settlement sites, and the open character of the landscape impart natural and cultural values to the meadow. As the only large non-forested area in the park, the meadow is also a haven for wildlife and plants that need open habitat. Big Meadows probably persisted in its open state for perhaps the past 10,000 years (Wilhelm 1969 [who also states that it was once 405 ha {1,000 ac} in size.] Lambert 1989; Moore 2003). Big Meadows is only 0.06% of the size of the entire park, but it supports populations of 18% of the state-listed rare plant species in the park. Although not all of Big Meadows is classified as a wetland, the rare Blue Ridge Mafic Fen alliance is located in the lower, groundwater-saturated parts of the meadow on both sides of Skyline Drive. The Mafic Fen contains eight plant species of special concern, including several sedges (Heffernan 1999).
These wet areas ad fens are prone to damage from visitation, so unless there is a developed trail or facilities there allowing visitation without damage, there locations should not be included.

Some other references:

a. Young, J. A., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2005. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Draft final report. U.S. Geological Survey, Leetown Science Center. Kearneysville, WV.

b. Massey, A. B. 1968. Notes relative to plant ecology in Virginia. Castanea 33:161–162.

c. Braun, E. L. 1950. Deciduous forests of eastern North America. The Blakiston Co. Philadelphia, PA.

Some specifics on the book concept:

1. In documenting the old growth and special forests, all of the known forests should be included, but an emphasis should be placed on those that are accessible by the general public via hiking trails.

2. There should be a section on low-impact hiking

3. I would like t see, and would be willing to write a short chapter or section on the Physiography and geology of the park ad parkway as the nature of the forests are directly related to the physiographic setting and geology of their location

4. There should be a section or short chapter on the human cultural history of the park ad parkway.

5. There should be a section or short chapter on the history of the park ad parkway itself, i.e. the conceptualization, planning, and construction of the roadway.

6. There should be a short guide to the typical flowering times of various shrubs and for fall foliage. If this book is directed at the general public, this is information they would want to find in the book.

7. There should be a brief overview of the wildlife and birdlife found in the park and along the parkway.

Edward Frank
Western Pennsylvania
"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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