Sacajawea (or Sacagawea)

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dbhguru
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Sacajawea (or Sacagawea)

Post by dbhguru » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:20 am

Ents,

Most people, I guess, know that Sacajawea was a Shoshoni women who helped Lewis and Clark navigate their way in their mission to find a pathway to the Pacific. Monica and I have visited a memorial to Sacajawea in Lander, Wyoming and a purported grave site on the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming. She has been honored in many ways to include a coin in her honor, and the ship the USS Sacagawea. So, why not a tree?

Well, she has one. It grows in the Elders Grove in Mohawk Trail State Forest. It is very difficult to measure because of intervening crowns of both pines and hardwoods. In the recent past, I've listed Sacajawea at various heights based on a late measurement. Up to yesterday, the height of 159.4 was a compromise, but it's over a year old and I never lost faith that Sacajawea is actually over 160. I won't give the reasons for my faith - a lot of observations and comparisons to nearby Saheda.

Yesterday, Monica and I headed to Mohawk. I had re-measuring Sacajawea foremost in my thoughts. The weather cooperated beautifully. Monica explored the surrounding area looking for signs of spring as I set out to find a better peephole into Sacajawea's crown. I eventually found one uphill from the usual spot. With my new knee, I was able to climb the ridge well above Sacajawea's base. Here is an image looking at the highest twig I could find.
Sacajawea-top.png

Let's now look at the base of Sacajawea. The pine measures 10.4 feet around.
Sacajawea's base.jpg
And now to the numbers. From my new location, height above eye level = 112.7 ft. Height to an orange marker below eye level = 42.0 feet. Height of orange marker to base below = 6.0 feet. Height to mid-slope (not point directly below orange marker) = 0.5 feet. Well, 112.7 + 42.0 + 6.0 + 0.5 = 161.2 feet. Ahh, she made it, and with room to spare. Persistence pays off.

Sacajawea becomes #18 to top 160 feet in MTSF, not counting our one loss, which would make 19 overall. In the second photo, the large tree to the right and back of Sacajawea is Saheda, at 171.4 feet, it is second tallest tree known in New England. Will Blozan has climbed Saheda twice. Bart Bouricious has climbed a tree not far away - Tecumseh. No less a visitor than Bob Van Pelt has visited the grove and taken measurements of several of the trees. Dale Luthringer from DCNR in PA has been to the grove. The Vice President of American Forests for Communications has visited the Elders, and the list goes on.

The fame of the Elders Grove has slowly grown over the years. It now has its own named trail. It is a clear victory for NTS. But now comes some really sobering information. Had it not been for the many in NTS who have visited and measured the pines in the Elders Grove, not one single tree would be known. This is always an eye-opener for me. Not the state's environmental organizations including Mass Audubon, not the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation, not the state's forestry organizations, not the University of Massachusetts or even Harvard Forest - none of them would have even noticed these great trees. They would have been swept up in broad descriptions and resource management plans hatched in Boston. This is a really sobering realization, worth all of us in NTS thinking about and not forgetting. We make a difference.

After Bart had climbed and tape-dropped Tecumseh, retired DCR manager Tim Zelazo explained to me that he was relating the information to a DCR employee, who said that he didn't believe what "those ENTS people were claiming." The fellow got silent when Tim explained that he was there photographing the climb and witnessed the measurement, which, BTW, was 163.6 feet for Tecumseh at the time. I still shake my head when I hear of the comments coming from some of these DCR employees. It is hard to understand their reluctance to recognize great trees on the lands they manage, and their significance. I'm thankful that tall DCR employees aren't all of such a mindset.

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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Lucas
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Re: Sacajawea (or Sacagawea)

Post by Lucas » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:48 pm

dbhguru wrote: The fame of the Elders Grove has slowly grown over the years. It now has its own named trail. It is a clear victory for NTS. But now comes some really sobering information. Had it not been for the many in NTS who have visited and measured the pines in the Elders Grove, not one single tree would be known. This is always an eye-opener for me. Not the state's environmental organizations including Mass Audubon, not the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation, not the state's forestry organizations, not the University of Massachusetts or even Harvard Forest - none of them would have even noticed these great trees. They would have been swept up in broad descriptions and resource management plans hatched in Boston. This is a really sobering realization, worth all of us in NTS thinking about and not forgetting. We make a difference.

After Bart had climbed and tape-dropped Tecumseh, retired DCR manager Tim Zelazo explained to me that he was relating the information to a DCR employee, who said that he didn't believe what "those ENTS people were claiming." The fellow got silent when Tim explained that he was there photographing the climb and witnessed the measurement, which, BTW, was 163.6 feet for Tecumseh at the time. I still shake my head when I hear of the comments coming from some of these DCR employees. It is hard to understand their reluctance to recognize great trees on the lands they manage, and their significance. I'm thankful that all of the DCR employees aren't all of such a mindset.
Yes, it was commendable that you brought this to light. Our evolutionary bias against plants blinds even people who should know better. Numbers and quantification are often the fastest way to pull people out of the fog they live in.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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ElijahW
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Re: Sacajawea (or Sacagawea)

Post by ElijahW » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:08 pm

Congratulations, Bob, on the new 160. Before you know it, you’ll have to create a 180’ class for the Mohawk pines. Is Sacajawea roughly the same age as Jake Swamp?

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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dbhguru
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Re: Sacajawea (or Sacagawea)

Post by dbhguru » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:53 am

Elijah,

I think Sacajawea is 20 to 30 years older than Jake. The Elders Grove dates back probably to between 1830 and 1840. The Nelson family owned that area, and I expect they were trying to establish a small sheep pasture on a gently sloping area the pines occupy. The family cemetery is close by on the other side of the Deerfield River. There is also an old rock wall boundary near the southern boundary of the pines.

The 28 remaining big, old white pines are the survivors of that period along the swath of land where they grow. Because there are so few of the pines, they can better make individual statements. On interpretive trips with groups, I've had people ask me what is the name of this or that pine. People seem to not want any of the trees to be left out.

The new 160 brings the count in that height class to 4. Altogether, 14 of the 28 pines reach 150 feet or more, and within a couple of years that number should grow to 16. Sacajawea is one of Will Blozan's favorite trees. He has climbed it twice. When he climbed it in 1998, Saheda was 158.3 feet tall. It is now 171.4, for an increase of 0.655 feet, or 7.86 inches, per growing season . That's not bad for a pine of Saheda's age, and contradicts the simple view of resource managers that the growth of trees in Saheda's age class has slowed to a crawl. I don't contest that belief in terms of increases in commercial volume (think log lengths), but not overall.

The Elders Grove pines are so dominant that you hardly notice the hardwoods among them. However, we have a once 123-foot red maple, which is now about 119. Sugar maple, N. red oak, and a few white ash trees create a hardwood canopy in the height range of 90 to 115 feet. The pines thrust through that canopy, rising another 40 to 50 feet. Quite dramatic.

Lucas,

I think our species has long been predisposed to think of plants as primarily a resource for food, shelter, and other products. However, we can be encouraged that today forward thinkers are recasting the vital role of trees as crucial to the planet's life support systems. The work of Diana Beresford Kroeger is a case in point.

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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Lucas
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Re: Sacajawea (or Sacagawea)

Post by Lucas » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:51 pm

dbhguru wrote: Lucas,
However, we can be encouraged that today forward thinkers are recasting the vital role of trees as crucial to the planet's life support systems. Bob

Click on image to see its original size

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertai ... bc7d96904f

"The most exciting novel about trees you’ll ever read"

https://www.amazon.com/Overstory-Novel- ... =overstory

An Amazon Best Book of April 2018:

Bob You may be right.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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dbhguru
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Re: Sacajawea (or Sacagawea)

Post by dbhguru » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:29 am

Lucas,

Amid the deluge of negative information today, I am heartened by the work some key scientists are doing to explore the roles that trees play in the life support systems of the planet.

A new role for me seems to be developing as a local voice for the importance of bigger, older trees in New England as sequesters of carbon. The Elders Grove in MTSF can play a role to help us quantify the amount and rates of acquisition of carbon in big trees. Sacajawea definitely has a part in the story.

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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