Ents site descriptions

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dbhguru
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Ents site descriptions

Post by dbhguru » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:39 am

NTS,

I'll make one more pitch for the compilation of site descriptions into a guide, and if the idea doesn't catch on, I'll pipe down and drop the subject. No problem.

I realize that each of us has to budget his/her time. Few un-retired Ents may feel they have enough free time to buy into Chris's adopt-a-site idea, which implies keeping descriptions current. I understand limits on time and respect individual situations. However, at least conceptually, I believe the idea of a maintained guide to our best sites is worth further discussing.

Collectively, we have amassed an enormous amount of information on a wide range of forested sites. Not infrequently, we champion sites that otherwise are bypassed in terms of recognition of their best trees. Indian Well State Park comes to mind. There it sets in Shelton, CT, stocked with gorgeous tuliptrees, the best site for that species I've seen in the Constitution State - in fact in all New England. Who, if not we, are going to take notice, visit Indian Well, measure its best, and report on it? So, if Ryan LeClair, Bart Bouricius, and yours truly do just that and render a few site reports, is that enough? Well, if the past is an indication of the future, the few site descriptions would be left to float in cyberspace, an be less visible as time goes on. But if Indian Well is as good as I've indicated, it deserves a heightened visibility and a chance to be given a place among other big/tall tree sites in CT and regionally. An NTS maintained guide to the best forest sites organized by state would give Indian Well that visibility.

Another site that comes to mind is Sosebee's Cove in North Georgia. I visited that site back in the 1970s. Jess Riddle and Will Blozan reported on it and most recently Eli Dickerson. It's a fine site - one of Georgia's best. Sosebee's Cove deserves a place of prominence, such as in a guide to Georgia's top big/tall tree sites. Other examples could be given.

Perhaps what I'm really arguing for is better organization of the material that we submit on our best sites. Ed Frank can't do it all. He's done an outstanding job of developing the BBS for us. And it isn't merely a case of convenient access - as important as that is. Good organization focuses attention and adds weight. Places like Cook Forest, MTSF, and hotspots in the Smokies receive lots of attention. They're always on the front burner courtesy of the fanatical among us. But other fine places are left largely to fend for themselves. A Internet-based guide book would serve to elevate them and keep the spotlight on them.

For my final point, I'll start by asking: Who speaks best for the big tree sites? If not NTS, then who? Public forestry organizations are usually given credit for knowing where the big trees sites on their properties are, but often have limited interest in those sites for reasons I won't go into here. The big environmental organizations maintain a big picture perspective, but seldom know squat about big tree-tall tree details. The champion tree lists are individual tree oriented and don't concentrate on site-based information. And so the list goes. Who is left? I think the answer is obvious. How well are we doing the job?

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: Ents site descriptions

Post by edfrank » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:38 am

Bob,

I think the eBook idea is worthwhile and should be pursued, but we need to first figure out what sites we want to include and how we are going to pursue the goal. So there is no need to shut up about it, the conversation needs to continue. We need to generate a list of sites to include in the book. We need to develop a site at a glance format that is consistent between sites that includes heading site-at-a-glance information such as site name, size, location, access, overview and key points, to be followed by a more detailed description of what things to see at the site and what makes those things notable. At the end perhaps there could be links to some of the individual trip reports we have published on the site being described. Do we want to include maps? photos? What will be the source or the maps?

Edward 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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dbhguru
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Re: Ents site descriptions

Post by dbhguru » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:03 pm

Ed,

Developing the list is the place to start. I'll start with Massachusetts if you'll begin with Pennsylvania. We can call on fellow and lady Ents as needed. Steve and Rand can weigh in for Ohio, if they're on board with the idea. We can leave North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina to the Ents who cover those states. Obviously that included Will, Jess, Mike, Eli, Bryan, etc. Larry has Mississippi and Louisiana. Don Bragg has Arkansas, and so on.

The vetting process needs to take as much time as needed. We may have only one or two sites for some states at the beginning. Once the nomination is under way, we can then turn to the other questions. I'll have a Massachusetts list ready shortly.

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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Larry Tucei
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Re: Ents site descriptions

Post by Larry Tucei » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:42 pm

Bob, Ed, All, It would be my pleasure to contribute from Ms., and La., and south Ala. Larry

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edfrank
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Re: Ents site descriptions

Post by edfrank » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:18 pm

Bob,

No there's the rub - what are the top 12 sites in Pennsylvania? (You do know it is somewhat larger than Massachusetts?) I emailed Dale Luthringer, George Fieo, and Steve Halow to get their input a few days ago. I don't think any of us has been to all of the sites in question or even to the tallest twelve sites.

I ask them to email me individually so as not to be influenced by the comments of others, but I will forgo that to include the responses from Dale:
Pennsylvania Rucker Historic Index Site Comparison
Site RHI

Ridley Creek State Park, Delaware Co. 139.35
Cook Forest State Park, Forest Co. 138.41
Fairmont Park, Philadelphia 136.62
Smedley Park, Delaware Co. 135.23
Pennypack Park, Philadelphia 133.07
Clarion River – Clarion, Jefferson, Forest, etc. 130.97
McConnells Mill State Park, Lawrence Co. 130.85
Cemetery Run-Meadville, PA, Crawford Co. 129.23
Tyler State Park-Bucks County 128.68
Swarthmore College, Delaware Co. 127.55
Wintergreen Gorge, Erie County 127.53
Ricketts Glen State Park, Luzerne Co. 126.29

Hearts Content, Anders Run, and the Tionesta Research natural areas should be in the top 12, not necessarily because of their Rucker standings, but in regards to their exceptional white pine and hemlock component… some of the last best stuff remaining in the East without HWA. Tionesta doesn’t surpass Cook’s old growth hemlock in stature, but greatly surpasses it in known age and contiguous acreage.
Cemetery Run http://groups.google.com/group/entstree ... 5734?hl=en&

Swarthmore College
http://groups.google.com/group/entstree ... 6d20?hl=en



The twelve sites with the tallest trees are not necessarily the best sites for the eBook purposes. If, as Dale suggests, we include Hearts Content, Anders Run, and the Tionesta Research Natural Area in the top 12, what other sites should be eliminated from the listing? One is easy - the Clarion River is essentially a subset of Cook Forest and can be eliminated. Perhaps Cemetery Run, Meadville could be taken out as it is part of a private cemetery property with no real trails. I would lean toward eliminating Swarthmore College as the last change - but is for example Anders Run really more worthy?

The other consideration might be the location of the sites. We have very little data from northeastern PA, and no sites on the list. Friendship Hill National Historic Site has some nice trees, as does Ohiopyle State Park in southwestern PA. Gettysburg National Military Park has some individually spectacular trees as well as patches of old growth - including stunted oaks on Little Roundtop and Big Roundtop areas. It is in south Central PA and might deserve a nod.

Few NTS people have been there, and Dale might disagree, but I would like to see some consideration for sites like Mount Logan which has some really interesting stunted forests growing in a talus slope, or Marion Brooks Natural Area with an almost pure stand of paper birch. The idea for the latter two would be that it is not just tallness that makes a forest worth visiting or exploring.

So these would be my choice:

Top 12 sites for Pennsylvania

1) Ridley Creek State Park, Delaware Co.
2) Cook Forest State Park, Forest Co.
3) Fairmont Park, Philadelphia
4) Smedley Park, Delaware Co.
5) Pennypack Park, Philadelphia
6) McConnells Mill State Park, Lawrence Co.
7) Tyler State Park-Bucks County
8) Wintergreen Gorge, Erie County
9) Ricketts Glen State Park, Luzerne Co.
10) Hearts Content, Warren County
11) Anders Run Natural Area, Warren County
12) Tionesta Research Natural Area, McKean County

Other Sites deserving Consideration:
Swarthmore College, Delaware Co.
Cemetery Run-Meadville, PA, Crawford Co.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Friendship Hill National Historic Site
Mount Logan Natural Area
Marion Brooks Natural Area
Ohiopyle State Park

.
"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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eliahd24
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Re: Ents site descriptions

Post by eliahd24 » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:27 pm

I'm completely on board for this project. Ed brings up a good point- what determines a "good" site? Top 12 RI sites? Sites with the most state/national champs? Most diversity? If we can come up with an NTS standard protocol, then I'm more than happy to tease my data to develop sites. I've been daydreaming about doing this for Atlanta sites anyway. Most recently I wanted to compile Rucker Indices for about the top 10 Atlanta sites and compare this to the size (acreage) of these sites... just the tip of the iceberg in terms of ways to analyze these data. Let's keep the conversation going. Jess, Will, NTS... what say you? :)

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edfrank
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Re: Ents site descriptions

Post by edfrank » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:34 pm

Eli,

I think the top 12 should be somewhat subjective and left to the discretion of the person making the decision rather than having a formal protocol at this stage. There should include a consideration of height, old growth/age, diversity, unusual or rare species assemblages, uncommon growth forms, size, how intact the site might be, aesthetics, etc. This is what I have been working at in the Significant patches discussions. http://www.nativetreesociety.org/forest ... ficant.htm I would encourage people to look over the thread to get ideas of things to consider.

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

RyanLeClair
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Re: Ents site descriptions

Post by RyanLeClair » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:39 pm

Would using a map interface be a good idea? Like Google Maps/Earth, but with thumbtacks at NTS sites?

Users could view the sites we've visited and click on them as they please. I've attached a picture of a prototype.

The database might be unwieldy if it doesn't use a visual interface like this.
Attachments
NTS Catalogue Idea.png

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edfrank
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Re: Ents site descriptions

Post by edfrank » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:06 pm

Ryan,

We are really talking about a frequently updated book of sites from a state that people can download rather than a database structure. A map key would be very useful for navigation purposes. I think Bob's concerns about trip reports being lost to float in cyberspace is unrealistic as we have the trip reports archived on our website and this BBS. There are other mirror sites out there that copy existing websites. Modern search engines will keep these reports from being lost in the future, unlike the status of the posts made to the Topica discussion list in the early days of ENTS. Those I rescued and posted to the website.

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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eliahd24
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Re: Ents site descriptions

Post by eliahd24 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:56 pm

Ed- I just wonder if those non-NTS folks would know to look for these data goldmines. I know they can, and you've done a great job of archiving countless posts and trip reports, but I wonder if there is a way to have a more appealing/enticing/accessible book of sites or something along those lines. I love the idea of the map. Folks can click on regions, states, counties... all the way down to local green space levels to see site summaries maybe??

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