#2 is okay, MTSF, MA

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#2 is okay, MTSF, MA

Post by dbhguru » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:18 am


No sure what I'd encounter in the post Sandy world, I went to the Elders Grove yesterday to check on Saheda, Tecumseh, and the other big pines growing in the stand along the Deerfield River. I took my TruPulse 360, tripod, and other equipment. The first image is of Saheda's crown as seen from the Florida Bridge. The highest part of the crown is visible any clearly on the uphill side.
I was alone yesterday, so I used my notebook to provide an idea of scale. Saheda's girth is 11.8 feet at 4.5 feet above mid-slope.
The next image shows the candle that registers as the highest point. Pre-sandy in September, I got 167.5 feet for this sprig. I can now only justify 167.1 feet. So going into the winter, that is the height of New England's second tallest tree confirmed by more exacting measurement methods. I am relieved.
And now a peek up the trunk. It is a long way to the top, and Will Blozan can confirm, having climbed this magnificent tree twice.
Why do I keep measuring these pines? Well, obviously I enjoy measuring them, but from repeated measurement exercises, I'm able to get a feel for the distribution of values one can expect using different instruments in different lighting conditions and from different vantage points. What actual range of heights can I expect measuring the same top over, say 10 visits? Patterns are important. For example, I've long known that my TruPulse can miss the tip of a tuff of foliage if the background is a bright blue sky. LTI warns of this, and the warning is valid. In addition, I can shoot the top of a particular tree with both the TruPulse and the Nikon Prostaff 440 and over several measuring episodes see if the adjustment factor that I commonly apply to the Nikon holds up. Basically, if I subtract one foot from the most prevalent Nikon distance to the target, I almost always get agreement with the most distant TruPulse reading. The Nikon still shoots through clutter far better than the TruPulse, so it remains invaluable to me. However, the TruPulse is my most accurate instrument, and if I succeed in getting a sufficient number of repeat returns from a change-over reading on the display, moving backward, I can subtract off 0.25 feet from that reading and be within an average of 1 inch from the target. It doesn't get much better than that.

Continuing to report these individual measurements to the official sources, big tree hunters, and environmental organizations has a positive impact that increases over time. Make no mistake, it is an indirect challenge by me to others who would mis-measure the great trees and report the results. I do not intend to see the best that New England has to offer obscured by mis-measurements from whatever the sources.

I am pleased to report that perseverance has paid off. MTSF officials and others in DCR refer to the champion pines by name and show an obvious sense of pride in the trees, realizing that they have direct custodianship over a truly remarkable resource. I am truly appreciative, and intend to continue building on what has been a solid relationship from the beginning. One area in which I'm probably a little too outspoken is when sites are portrayed by others as exceptional when they are not. Case and point is the forests on the Quabbin Reservoir. There is nothing exceptional about them, yet Quabbin managers present them as woodlands to showcase. I'd be embarrassed to invite others to come from afar to visit the Quabbin forests, as though they were worth traveling any distance to see. On the other hand, I would never hesitate to recommend Mohawk or Monroe. The next step is to get the Mohawk identified as a national natural landmark, as is the Forest Cathedral in Cook Forest State Park, PA. BTW, the next edition of American Forests will showcase Cook and Mohawk.

Next week, I'll return to Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park to continue the documentation there for the Park people. On the way back, Monica and I will stop at a private Claremont, NH property to re-measure the best of New England's other super white pine site. There is at least a possibility of equaling the height of the Jake Swamp pine in the Claremont site. If it happens, it happens. There are at least three 160-footers in the stand, and probably more. So far my best height is 166.2 feet. A second pine is 164.7 feet, or at least was. But it is a tricky proposition to work there. Part of the family that owns the property would be happy seeing the big pines turned into matchsticks. Very touchy situation. I'm sworn to silence on the details, so I can only report numbers without identifying the property owners or exact location of the trees.

Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre


Re: #2 is okay, MTSF, MA

Post by Joe » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:47 am

Why do I keep measuring these pines?
'cause you really, really, really dig big trees and ancient forests?

'cause you know that accurate measuring of trees is important/esssential knowledge for mankind?

'cause the technical challenge of using the measuring tools stimulates the engineer in you?


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Larry Tucei
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Re: #2 is okay, MTSF, MA

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:03 pm

Bob, Good to hear all your trees had little impact from Sandy. You are inspiring to us all and have made many people take notice of these great trees. You are a measuring machine!!! Larry

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