Confirming the remaining 150s

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dbhguru
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Confirming the remaining 150s

Post by dbhguru » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:41 pm

ENTS,

Today was gorgeous. The temperature was forecasted to be in the low 50s in MTSF. So off I went. My objective is to measure and profile as many white pines in Mohawk as I can before the deciduous trees leaf out and seeing to the top of the canopy becomes nearly impossible. I succeeded in confirming two more 150s in the Pocumtuck Pines and a new one in the Cherokee-Choctaw Pines. I may have all the 150s in the Pocumtucks, but I suspect one or two more will be confirmed before the end of April. The new 150 in the Cherokee-Choctaw was one that I had measured several year ago to 148 feet. It now enters the hollowed halls. The following image shows the trunk of the new 150. It is the first pine in the image.
Maidens#1And#2.jpg
There are three pines relatively close together. The third is not visible in the image. I call the three pines the Three Indian Maidens. Their dimensions are as follows:

Maiden #1: Hgt = 151.1 ft, Girth = 8.7 ft
Maiden #2: Hgt = 132.7 ft, Girth = 9.1 ft (crown broken in past)
Maiden #3: Hgt = 140.7 ft, Girth = 9.2 ft

The other two 150s confirmed today were both in the Pocumtuck Pines:

Unnamed: Hgt = 150.1 ft, Girth = 6.8 ft
Pocumtuck Pine: Hgt = 152.4 ft, Girth = 9.2 ft

When I'm traipsing through deep snow measuring pines, as was the case today, I often think about the energy my expending. Is the effort worth it? I'm well aware that the amount of time I spend confirming the 150s seems excessive (or nuts) to people not into big trees or even big tree hunters who just specialize in finding state and national champions, but thinking more broadly, there isn't anything that unusual about the effort. Peak baggers devote untold hours cataloging, comparing, and climbing peaks that meet various elevation criteria. Sports enthusiasts constantly mull over statistics. Baseball enthusiasts even track the number of pitches thrown by a favorite pitcher against other teams and individual batters. Making these kinds of comparisons, my efforts are not exceptional. If anything, I'm well behind the others. Guess I need to speed up my efforts.

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: Confirming the remaining 150s

Post by James Parton » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:14 pm

Bob,

I never tire of your White Pine expeditions. Keep em' coming.

That expendature of energy is good for you. It keeps you in shape!

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

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russ richardson
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Re: Confirming the remaining 150s

Post by russ richardson » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:53 pm

Bob:

I think that your posts about MTSF and the big pine trees are an ongoing pleasue to read and it makes a drive up the Deerfield from Sheburne a necessary part of any trip I make to Massachusetts. I very much appreciate your time and efforts at getting the unique aspects of that little corner of the world documented and appreciated. The photos are great.

Russ

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dbhguru
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Re: Confirming the remaining 150s

Post by dbhguru » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:28 pm

Russ and James,

Thanks. I'm trying to take the measuring mission to the next level. The following map shows the 4.5 acres of the Algonquin area. The map isn't exact, but with some tweaking, I'll get it into good enough shape to document the approximate locations of the trees. A version with less tree detail will be prepared for DCR. Showing exact locations of important trees is probably not a good idea. Any thoughts?

Bob
AlgonquinGroveMap.jpg
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: Confirming the remaining 150s

Post by edfrank » Sat Mar 20, 2010 4:09 pm

Bob,

I have been following your recent efforts in these groves and am impressed with your dedication. I believe there is a difference between keeping statistics on a baseball game and what you are accomplishing. Baseball is an international sport that millions of people follow enjoy. The stats are part of that broad culture of sports. On the other hand, you are measuring trees in relative obscurity (compared to baseball) just for the sake of knowledge and to help preserve exceptional forest sites. Obsessive, perhaps, but with a deeper and more altruistic goal. Your efforts are to be applauded.

I really like the map of the locality you have produced. We need to be better documenting our sites like this so that others may be able to build on and appreciate what has been accomplished. Personally I don't see any real problem with sharing the tree locations with DNR or the general public via DNR, but you are more aware of the political and social climate of your area. It is your call on what to include or not in your submissions.

I look forward to your reflections on your Cabin 6 experiences now that you have ha time to reflect further.

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: Confirming the remaining 150s

Post by James Parton » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:08 pm

Bob,

Showing the exact locations can be both good and bad I guess. It helps well intended folks to find the trees but yet a vandal can be inadvertently led there too. It's a slight chance but possible.

Possible enough where the USFS will not give the exact location of the Methuselah Bristlecone Pine. If only someone in ENTS/WNTS knew which one it was. But if so he could not post it.

JP
James E Parton
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New Order of Druids

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russ richardson
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Re: Confirming the remaining 150s

Post by russ richardson » Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:36 am

Bob:

I have mixed thoughts on the mapping process.

As a forester, I see the need for maps to be as accurate as possible. Any map related to trees and forestry that hangs around for a while has the potential of ending up as a "historical" document. With the rapid development of everything digital, the "hand drawn paper" option is going to become increasingly rare, especially with GPS becoming the standard level of accuracy in terms of location technology. For the quality of records and information you are developing about MTSF and the exceptional trees at the Cold River Confluence, there is a likelihood that some of that data will be revisited for as long as any of those individual trees remain alive. For that reason, I see lots of merit in the digital location and mapping option.

At the same time, as a conservationist and natural resource professional, I would caution that for something as scientifically significant as this patch of woodland the maps should not necessarily be for public disperal or consumption but similar to the "natural heritage" maps.

Personally, as a hard core appreciator of big trees, I'd be inclined to keep the specifics of the location of individual trees as ambiguous as possible....but the flip side would be to lower the eventual scientific value of the effort that is being dedicated to the documentation and records being developed.

The aerial photos you used in one of your earlier posts that identified the individual trees in one grove came out better than I could have ever imagined.

Russ

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johnofthetrees
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Re: Confirming the remaining 150s

Post by johnofthetrees » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:17 pm

Hi Bob,

I really like the map. I have been making maps of various sites for a while, using tree to tree measurements (rangefinder and clinometer) then plotting to graph paper. I haven't found a way to digitize the images, nor am I very thorough in completing the maps, but I have been quite pleased with the consistency of the location data once I have readings from several locations within a grove. I can't remember the individual trees the way you seem to (except for the superlative specimens), so the maps are for me a necessary crutch to tracking sites over time. I think they provide a useful source of data to support our database, since it allows more accurate tracking of which tree is which than comparing cbh and height data for trees in the area.

After seeing the ice damage to some of the finest groves, such as ash flats and one of the Catamount coves, combined with the remote nature of some of these sites, I think nature will overtake any but the most insistent vandals!

I'll have to check out the area of 120' hemlocks -- I wouldn't have known about them if it weren't for the map!

John

p.s. Some ice damage has shortened the sole 120' hemlock located in the cove east of Black Brook and south of Cold River, to about 118'. I think there are fewer than 3 dozen 120'+ Hemlocks in MTSF.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Confirming the remaining 150s

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:30 am

Bob, The amount of 150's you are documenting truly shows what a special site the Algonquin Area really is. I like the map you did it really is detailed. Perhaps the Forest Service could use your ideas to map Old Growth in the Eastern US. I'd like to do something like that with all of the Live Oaks I've measured. I have most of them mapped on Live Search but maybe I should with your help do something similar. Larry

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AndrewJoslin
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Re: Confirming the remaining 150s

Post by AndrewJoslin » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:51 pm

Great map Bob. Agree that posting exact locations can be problematic but there are so many great trees at the Algonquin, safety in numbers. I think the concerns about notable tree locations are for the super high profile trees, as James mentioned the Methuselah Bristlecone Pine, another example being "the world's tallest tree" (Hyperion, Coast Redwood). A handful of the most notable trees on the planet could suffer from too many visitors (soil compaction etc.) or deranged vandals. All who love the woods don't like to see special trees and places trampled, the impulse to keep it quiet is understandable.

Andrew Joslin
Jamaica Plain, MA

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