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Tallest Known Native Hardwood in US - Deep Creek Watershed

There is a new tallest-known native hardwood in the United States, and it is on Deep Creek.

This weekend I visited the cove Ian Breckheimer reported on that has extremely tall tulip trees - one measuring 201 ft. by tape drag/tangent method. Like Ian, I was on a backpacking trip with my dad and his god-son and took some time off from fishing, bow drilling and eating good food to search for the trees Ian found. I took my Nikon 440 and Suunto clinometer up the Fork Ridge Trail and decended into the cove that had three LiDAR points over 180'.

The east facing cove that holds the trees reminds me a bit of a steep version of the cove where the Sag Branch Poplar resides. There is abundant seepage in the convex portion of the cove that comes to the surface just a few feet from a cluster of tall poplars. Three of these appeared to be over 170' in height and all three could be over 180'; the summer growth, my limited time and the interlacing and superimposed crowns of the trees made it difficult to determine which tree I was actually measuring. I think, like Ian, that the 18' cbh tree is likely the tallest and chose it's base as the target. My best efforts yielded a height of 187.5'! I wasn't sure if that kind of height was possible for a hardwood north of the 30th parallel, but now I know. If, by some chance, I measured the wrong top, the tree could be shorter by 1 foot if the tree measured was actually the up-slope member of the trio or over 190' if it is the down-slope member of the trio. All I can say is that I am confident that among this trio is the tallest known hardwood in the United States, unless a taller black cottonwood has been found that I do not know about. I'd say this spot moves up to top of the list for more measurements after leaf-drop. It and another cove on the Left Fork with 180'+ LiDAR points are tempting destinations for tree hunters searching for trophy trees.

by Josh Kelly
Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:02 pm
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