Boogerman Loop and "new" 180' white pine

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Will Blozan
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Boogerman Loop and "new" 180' white pine

Post by Will Blozan » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:21 pm

NTS,

Today I took a group from Ontario Canada into the Smokies for their first foray into the Cataloochee Valley. We did the Boogerman Loop Trail with the goals of seeing the Boogerman Pine and the Sag Branch Tuliptree. Even though foot bridges were out and the morning was cold we had a successful trip. As I predicted the hemlock carnage upstream is now flowing down and taking out bridges. I call these "Tsugnamis".
Icy crossing.jpg
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Tsugnami.jpg
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I am please to report that the Boog suffered no noticeable crown damage this past windy winter. I measured the girth for Matt's list which was 111.5 cm (43.9") diameter. This tree has not perceptively changed in diameter since it's discovery in 1993. I did not measure the height as the regrowth from the death of the hemlocks was so thick and I doubt it has changed since last measurement- at least not within the resolution of the handheld instruments.
The Boog 1.jpg
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We next saw the HUGE chestnut oak on the west prong of Sag Branch which is a whopping 123.0 cm (48.4") diameter and ~140' (42.7 m) tall. This tree has a lot of wood and may be among the largest specimens known.
Sag Branch chestnut oak.jpg
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After the oak we went to the Sag Branch Tuliptree which is doing splendidly. NO new crown damage and lots of live tops and new leaves.
Sag Branch Tulip 1.jpg
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Sag Branch Tulip 2.jpg
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The find of the day was not a new find but a remeasure of the "Palmer Pole". This large white pine has been a bugger to measure but now that the hemlocks have all died visibility is great. Michael Davie and I have tried several times to measure this great tree but were thwarted by thick brush and dense hemlocks. No good sightings could be made. As we approached the tree from the west I could clearly see the crown and the high point. All previous measurements were to side branches due to the steep angle and poor visibility. Well, this large 115.7 cm (45.6") tree is an outstanding 183' (55.8 m) tall! This make tree #9 over 180' for the species and the 5th tree in the Smokies. Sweet!!!!!
Palmer Pole 1.jpg
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Palmer Pole 2.jpg
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Will

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edfrank
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Re: Boogerman Loop and "new" 180' white pine

Post by edfrank » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:33 pm

Will,

Congratulations on getting a measurement on the "Palmer Pole." I am glad the Boogerman Pine and Sag Branch tulip survived the winter without top damage. Cool big chestnut oak, they are among the oldest oaks as well. I see the big debris from the downed hemlocks clogging the stream and crashing bridges. I am wondering if you have noticed any adverse problems associated with all the hemlock needles that fell? Did it affect the stream quality or biodiversity in the streams? I was wondering about any episodes of anoxia from the volume of needles being flushed into the system? There was talk about the potential to change some of the streams or sections of them from cold water to warm water streams due to the loss of shade.

Edward Forrest 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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Will Blozan
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Re: Boogerman Loop and "new" 180' white pine

Post by Will Blozan » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:45 pm

Ed,

I can't speak for changes in scientific terms but I have seen the creeks run red from tannic acid after heavy rains. I know there is substantiated increases in water flow in drainages due to loss of hemlock and I wouldn't doubt for a minute that Caldwell Fork- with square miles of dead hemlock forest upstream- is flowing higher and more voluminous than ever. This will likely change as the new saplings of birch, silverbell, and others start to absorb more water. However, the vast sponge of the deep, dark hemlock forest duff layers will probably degrade and flood events could become more intense.

Cataloochee is a serious downer these days.

Will

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mdavie
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Re: Boogerman Loop and "new" 180' white pine

Post by mdavie » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:14 pm

Will Blozan wrote:
Cataloochee is a serious downer these days.

Will
It sure is, isn't it? Unbelievable how devastated it is compared to the past. Even though we knew it was coming and I know I tried to ready myself, it's worse than I could have imagined. Especially there; it's simply a disaster.

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dbhguru
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Re: Boogerman Loop and "new" 180' white pine

Post by dbhguru » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:42 pm

Will,

Congratulations on the confirmation of the Palmer Pole. It is comforting to know that the Great Whites haven't given up the competition with the tulips.

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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