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West Virginia Maximum Dimension List

Attached is the Maximum Dimension List for WV through May 1st, 2010. I think I extracted everything pertinent from the ENTS list. You will see some names listed as measurers you will not recognize. They are Bob Hannah, Liz Snider, Jim Bowen, Allen Waldron, Dan Cooley, Tom Oxley, and Craig Minton. I have been assigned to work with these 7 WV Division Of Forestry employees to bring the WV Big Tree List up to date. I personally introduced them to the ENTS Sine method and was instrumental in getting them issued a Nikon 550 Laser. Any other name listed after their names would be a helper and generally another forester or forest technician. Five of them have been very active in measuring, but in a tragic turn of events Liz Snider was married to Dan Snider (USFS forester) who died in the plane crash last week in Loch Haven, PA.
I used the EXcell form Ed supplied me and found it very easy to use. I assume if other ENTS use this form consistently it will be quite easy to merge them to develop a regional or nationwide Maximum Dimension List.
While working on the list I temporarily put the scientific name in the first column by alphabetic order and switched it back after I was done. I found that the common name in the first column was visually distractive when I was trying to find something. You may notice I only included trees that are native to WV. I will post a comment on this subject a little later.
Most of the aggravation I encountered was my own doing such as incomplete, illegible, and scattered notes.
I will try to answer any questions, comments, complaints promptly.
Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:05 am
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Some West Virginia Yellow-poplar

Back in 2006 Carl Harting et al. measured the Widen Yellow-poplar: Here is the link to their trip report: They came up with a height of 173.2 feet which is still the tallest poplar known north of the Great Smokey Mountains.
The State of WV had this tree in their database at 195 feet. Here is a picture of the tree taken in July of 1996.
Photographer possibly Ray Arnold
The originial entry for this tree was in 1977 at 162 feet. Several more measurements were made over the years ranging up to 225 feet with the last one made in 1996 at 195 feet at the time this picture was taken.

West Virginia also had two more notable Poplars in their database which supposedly exceeded 180 feet which demands a visit with a rangfinder.

First on the agenda is one listed at 185 feet near Williamstown, Wood County, WV. This is only 20 miles or less from home and should be easy to find. Wrong! I had to work the phones and get permission from a private landowner to get it measured. The landowner had recently sold the timber on the tract but saved this tree that is pictured in the following photos:
Photo by Turner Sharp
Pictured is beautiful tree and beautiful wife Susan
The had a CBH of 211.1" or 17.6' and a height of 134.9'. This 50' error of height is the largest one I have encountered and the following picture of the crown illustrates how it can happen with the baseline tangent method.
Photo by Turner Sharp
The middle prong was the highest but is off-set from the trunk by almost 30 feet and I suspect i could do some forensic measuring and find the location where the 185' was obtained.

Next on the agenda is a one listed at 182' near Saulsville, Wyoming County, WV. I accompanied two WV DOF employees for about 3/4 mile hike up the hollow on land which I think was owned by Western Pocahontas and had been timbered 20 years ago but for some reason this tree was saved although I was told a similar size next to it was not. Walking up the trail we could soon see a massive crown dominating the surrounding trees:
Photo by Mat Bailey
The crown on the left is a much smaller and closer tree. The further we hiked up the hollow the deeper the snow got and the last 100 yards on steep ground was a chore.
Photo by Allen Waldron
Pictured is Mat Bailey, Turner Sharp
The tree measure 183.6" or 15.3' with a height of 169.6. which makes it the second tallest know Yellow-poplar in West Virginia. I actually went back for a second visit with Ray Arnold to see if I could get it in the 170 foot class but even though I did get one reading slightly over 170' we stuck with 169.6 as the best one. This tree had been in the WV database since 1977 and previous measurements ranged from 178 to 182'

Now for a bonus photo:
Photographer: The late Ross H. Mellinger
Pictured left to right are: Jim Sands, D. L Shreve, Cliff
The tree pictured has CBH of 276" or 23'. The picture is dated 5/8/1962 probably for inclusion in the the first Big Tree list that WV developed for their Centennial Celebration in 1963. The last CBH measurement was recorded in 1986 at 293" or 24' 5" and I believe is the same year the top got blown out and the tree was eventually reduced to a tall stump because of the hazard to tourists. The tree was located next to the ferry landing on Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park and was seen by thousands and imparted to public that the Island as place for big trees.
Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:35 am
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Pringle Tree

Recently I had a chance to stop visit this double-stem Sycamore near Buckhannon, Upshur County, WV.
Photo by Turner Sharp

The tree has a several acre park dedicated to it located north of Buckhannon, WV several miles off of WV 20 on a side road with the unusual name of Pringle Tree Road. This several acre day use park is along the Buckhannon River on river left(descending) and offers public river access.

ED Frank posted some information of this tree in 2009 and his comments and other links may be found at:

Photo by Turner Sharp

Soon I had my measuring devices out and determined the following dimensions:
Circumference Ground level: 280.1" or 23.3'
Circumference at 4 1/2': 299.9'" or 25'
Forked at 5 1/2' and I measured along each fork and additional 1' above this point

#1: 157.3" or 13.1' with height of 84.9'
#2: 166.1" or 13.8' with height of 78.9
I did not measure spread
The Nikon 440 proved it ability to shoot through ground clutter once again. I got good readings through a chain link fence at 60 yards with ease. Not so easy was negotiating the barb wire atop the chain link fence.
Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:54 pm
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Some volunteer workdays on the Ohio River Islands NWR

ENTS: This past spring I volunteered to do a little invasive species destruction for the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge. For some background information on the refuge check out the following link:

Actually I was bribed by Patty Morrison the Wildlife Biologist for the Refuge. She promised to show me an unusual assemblage trees if I worked hard. So on the last day in March and a fine spring morning Patty, myself, Dick Esker and Carl Radcliffe met at the visitor center and headed north(upriver) from the visitor center near Williamstown, WV to what they call the Captina Mainland Tract at McKeefrey , Marshall County, WV which is just south of Moundsville, WV. I do not know what bribe was offered to Dick and Carl. There is a Captina Island in the Refuge and the Mainland Tract was acquired with the island. The site had and has some issues. One of the present issues is the amount of invasive species present. I think they have it all but we were going to focus on the one called Phellodendron amurense or the Amur Corktree. This is a species for which I was unfamiliar with. The following picture shows the bright yellow inner bark of a Corktree.

WV does not consider this species as naturalized as of yet but on this site it has taken on an invasive nature.
So we spent most of the day loping, girdling and poisoning.Sometime after a short break the showed me this tree
Photo by Turner Sharp
Pictured Dick Esker, Patty Morrison

It is a Butternut and probably a hybrid. Measurements were CBH 157.6" or 13.1', HT 78.4' and maximum CS 92'
After some more invasive work Patty showed me two more trees and extracted a commitment to come back which we did on April 21 for an additional attack on the Corktrees

This American Elm tree in the following picture appears to be former yard tree for a long gone house.
Photo by Turner Sharp
Pictured Dick Esker

Measurements were CBH 158.6" or 13.2', HT. 96.7', maximum crown spread 88'
The grape vine pictured to left of tree had a Circumference of 19.5" at 4 1/2'

The following tree was once a group of three. The other two are gone as a result of a rehabilitation of a former coal loading facility when the area was bulldozed clean and probably contributed to the invasive species problem.
Photo by Turner Sharp

This Big Tooth Aspen had the following measurements: CBH 95.1" or 7.9', 104.0'. Maximum crown spread 48'
This is the best specimen of this species that I have had the privilege to measure.
The last task of the day was to set out about six of the purple Emerald Ash Borer traps.
Upon parting after a day of labor, Patty mentioned that she knew where a Big Bur Oak was located. She knows what works on an ENT
by tsharp
Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:00 pm
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Re: Found: The Yellow Buckeye once measured at 196'

I just spoke to Richard Strickland who nominated the Yelllow Buckeye for inclusion in the WV Big Tree database back in 1980. He was shown the tree by the land manager for Holly Land Company. They had cut that area in 1998. Richard say the area had a high percent of good quality Red Oak and they were quite pleased with the results money wise. Holly Land is owned by the Cameron Family from North Carolina. The tract is 9,800 acres and is leased to the WV DNR and is known as the Morris Creek Public Hunting Area.

Will: To me there was nothing unusual about the site. Yes it is favorable as to aspect and mosture but there are countless sites just like that. Occassionally a tree or small patch is skipped when cutting. Really makes one wonder what the dimensions of the original forest cover was really like. Another important factor is I doubt that the site had seen a plow.
This site is 24 river miles upriver from Charleston. The Webster Springs Sycamore is 142 river miles upstream and a 1,000' higher in elevation.
The Elk River drainage was noted for big timber and big Muskies. Of course the Holly River is in the Elk River drainage.
I believe it would be productive to investigiate the large acreages associated with the US Corps of Army Engineers flood control dams scattered throughout the state. Good sites, low elevation, long season, etc. Some have been in federal ownership for 60 plus years with no timber cutting. Many of them however are leased to the WV DNR for public hunting.
Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:30 pm
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Joshua Tree Nationa Park

WNETS, ENTS: Susan and I had a chance to visit Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California in October of 2009 with the main purpose of catching some nice sunshine before the Ohio Valley winter cloud cover takes over our area around Parkersburg, WV. Plus we needed to burn some frequent flier miles.
The park has 794,000 acres with 558,000 acres in designated as federal wilderness. We were not into a back country experience but stayed in developed campgrounds within the park which were about 90 percent empty when the weekend ended.
The park sits at the intersection of two vary different desert eco systems with the low elevation east portion considered part of the Colorado/Sonoran desert with its signature plants such as Octillo, Jumping Cholla, and Creosote Bush. the higher elevation western portion a part of the Mohave desert and has Joshua trees, Mohave yuccas and a perplexing scrub oak complex. The Park also has several nice Palm Oasis which we wanted to see. I brought the laser and clinometer along and got a some measurements.

View of a Joshua Tree forest
Photo by Susan Sharp

Joshua Tree, Yucca brevifolia
7.4' CBH and 40.2' HT
Photo by Susan Sharp

7.6' CBH and 31.7' HT.
Photo by Susan Sharp

One of the main reasons we wanted to come to Joshua Tree NP was to visit some of the Palm Oasis where the California Fan Palm dominates. We visited 3 of the 5 oasis where tourists are encouraged to visit. They were 49 Palms , Mara, and Cottonwood. Of the three visited, The 49 Palms Oasis was the most natural and required about a 4 mile round trip hike. The following picture shows our first glimpse of the oasis from the trail.

California Fan Palm, Washingtonia filifera
Photo by Susan Sharp

I measured several palms in the following picture of this cluster at 49 Palms Oasis with the two biggest being:
CBH 6.6' and 67.6' HT
8.2' and 55.0'
It appears that a previous fire had burned some of the thatch but many of the palms in the wetter areas had thatch all the way to the ground as the subsequent photo shows.
Additional Palms measured were at Mara Oasis:
9.2' and 49.2'
and Cottonwood Oasis:
9.0' and 52.0'
Photo by Susan Sharp

Dressed up in a full skirt
Photo by Susan Sharp

Mohave Yucca Yucca schidigera
CBH 2.5' and 13.1' HT
Photo by Susan Sharp

Jumping Cholla Cylindropuntia fulgida
Photo by Susan Sharp
There are many different species of Cholla. One is called Teddy Bear Cholla but as far as i know they have one characteristic in common. If you are going to be around them be prepared to spend time with tweezers removing tiny spiney bristles or wear a hazmat suit. The Cholla picture was taken in the southern part of the park at Cholla Garden and i swear i kept a respectfull distance and still took some spines home.

I also measured a Singleleaf Pinyon, Pinus monophylla, in Hidden Valley at:
CBH 3.8' and 28.1' HT
Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:14 pm
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Coopers Rock State Forest - Hemlock Trail

November 21st found Carl Harting, John Fichtner, and myself paying a visit to a section of Coopers Rock State Forest in West Virginia. This 12,000 + acre state forest is split by I-68 that runs between Morgantown, WV and Cumberland, Maryland. West Virginia University leases the section north of the interstate from the state for research and educational purposes.
Trees were measured in Preston County section of the forest along the Hemlock Trail next to Little Laurel Run just north of I-68 and a parallel state highway. This 10-15 acre tract is along the eastern Boundary of the State Forest and has old growth characteristics. Supposedly, some hemlocks have been cored and ring counted to 300 years. The area next to the run is predominately Hemlock and Rhododendron and the farther from the run and uphill turns predominately hardwoods within 200 yards or so. All trees except one were measured on river right (descending).

Looking upstream along Little Laurel Run
Photo by John Fichtner

The Elevation of all the trees measured is between 1640-1700 feet. We spent about 3 hours in the stand and maybe saw half of it. We had to hustle to find 10 species and finally had to settle on some not to impressive Red Maple and Birches. Finding good lines of sight was time consuming while dealing with the Rhododendron and the plentiful young hemlock reproduction. Carl told me that he is not sure he got the max height of the 129’ hemlock. I paid another visit on January 24 to see if I could do any better and maybe measure some other trees. It appeared the best line of sight might have been on the opposite bank of Little Laurel. With the temperature hovering just below 0 degrees and a lot of ice on the creek bank it was a place I was not willing to go. I did measure the 146’ Tuliptree on this visit and a slightly taller Yellow Birch. On our November visit, we saw Cucumbertree leaves on the forest floor but it still eluded being measured.

The following is a list of trees we measured listed by species and descending heights in feet. DBH and CBH are listed in inches. NTL means “Not Less Than”. Several trees as listed were measured from the base with a collapsible pole to get above the Rhododendron and/or Hemlock reproduction.

The first number listed is height followed by DBH and CBH if taken plus the initials of the person doing the measuring,

TULIPTREE Liriodendron tulipifera
146.6 NLT 43.5”, 136.7” ts
this tree had OG characteristics
134.6, 33.8, 106.2 ts
122.2, 23.8, 74.8 ch
121.3, 29.2, 91.7 ch
110.3, 31.3, 98.0 ts
EASTERN HEMLOCK Tsuga canadensis
129.0 NLT pole 33.6, 105.6 ch
117.0, ---- ----- ts
113.1, ---- ----- ch
112.8, 39.7, 124.7 ch
106.5, pole 22.9, 71.9 ch, jf
96.8, 26.0, 81.6 ts
96.5, 29.8 93.6 ch
84.7, ---- ----- ch
NORTHERN RED OAK Quercus rubra
115.3, 41.5, 130.4 ch
102.2, ----- ------ ts
CHESTNUT OAK Quercus prinus
112.1, 19.0, 59.7 ch
WHITE OAK Quercus alba
112.0, 31.6, 99.3 ts
92.9, 26.25, 82.5 ch
this tree had blue tag with #109
BLACK CHERRY Prunus serotina
107.4, pole 25.5, 80.1 ch, jf
97.6, 22.5, 70.7 ts
101.4, 14.75, 46.3 ch
RED MAPLE Acer rubrum
93.0, 19.7, 61.9 ts
SWEET BIRCH Betula lenta
91.7, 15.0, 47.1 ch
85.7, 16.2, 50.9 ts
72.3, 10.8, 33.9 ts
YELLOW BIRCH Betula alleghaniensis
72.7, 13.6, 42.7 ts
67.8, 13.4 42.1 ts


Carl Harting and Turner sharp with what I think is the 39.7" DBH Hemlock
Photo by John Fichtner

We did not see any presence of HWA. The heights for the White Oak and Chestnut Oak will make the WV Maximum Dimension list when I update it later this year. The tallest Hemlock was in an attractive grove of 6-8 other nice hemlocks and slightly downslope from the trail. A GPS reading from the trail next to this grove is as follows:

N39 39.749
W79 44.232

Hemlock with the only fire scare I noticed. I neglected to measure this tree but the rod across the bole is 4 1/2'
Photo by John Fichtner

Access to this stand is very easy. It is located on the north side of a road that parallels the Interstate. Six miles west from the Bruceton Mills exit or 3 miles east from the Coopers Rock exit. Parking is limited to 5-6 cars, less in snowy weather. Except for the entrance section, the trail is level and is at most a 2 mile round trip hike. Very pleasant

by tsharp
Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:05 pm
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Salmon River

For the past several years Susan and I have gathered up some friends and organized a western river trip. This years target was the Salmon River in Idaho. The section we had a permit to do was for an 85-mile section between Corn Creek and Vinegar Creek. The river is in the federal Wild and Scenic system with the section we are doing is as classified wild and flows through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness administered by the Forest Service.
See the following links:

The last week of August 2010 we took off with the first stop in Idaho at the Mike Harris Campground in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest near the town of Victor in Teton County. Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta Douglas var. latifolia) was plentiful with the largest measured at 4.1’ CBH and 111.1’ height. Elevation was at 6500’
Next stop was the Corn Creek Ranger Station and Campground where 10 of us would meet with the rangers and rig our boats for a 7 day - 84-mile river trip. We had 2 rafts, 2 catarafts, 1 IK, I kayak and a C-1. Corn Creek is where the road ends and is 46 river miles downstream of the town of North Fork and 8 miles downstream of the confluence of the Middle Fork. While driving along the river to our put-in we stopped to admire this herd of Elk.
Photo by Tom Connelly
While admiring the Elk a local person stopped and relayed the fact that in the 20 years he has driven this road it has only been in the last two that Elk would come down at this low elevation at this time of year. He believes it is because a newly established wolf pack has kept them on the move. There were over 100 head in this herd with several large bulls which are out of the picture to right after leading across the river.
Corn Creek is in Lemhi County 2900’ elevation. We would take out at the Carey Creek Boat Ramp in Valley County at 1900 elevation. This section has about 25 named rapids and as many unnamed. At low summer flows, it is considered class II –III+ run .
The enabling legislation for this wilderness area “grandfathered” in many activities that are incompatible to wilderness areas such as airstrips, pack bridges, dude ranches and horrors upon horrors - jet boat traffic. It also appears many of the rapids had been “improved” by blasting clear channels for transportation.
Near the ranger station and campground the two largest Ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum) were measured at 11.9’ CBH and 119.8’ height and 7.1’ CBH and 122.5’. Also measured a Blue Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L. ssp. cerulea) at 1.7’ and 21.8’
Fruit of Elderberry
Photo by Carol Pamer
Day 1. We had the only swim of the trip at Ranier Rapid when the IK capsized. Camping was at Upper Devil’s Teeth (mile 12.0) on river right. Measured a nice Ponderosa Pine near the camping area at 11.9’ and 135.0’.
Day 2. The first order of business was to run Devil’s Teeth Rapid, which was right below our campsite. It was not a hard rapid but it claimed Susan’s camera when she left it unattached while rowing through the rapid. I pulled the same trick several years ago. We scouted Salmon Falls from river right. All ran with no problems but I forgot to look for relict populations of Grand Fir and Pacific Yew. We stopped at the Hot Springs on river left, which required a scramble up a slippery rock slope to enjoy a nice long soak in the enhanced rock pool with flowing hot water and a view.
Photo by Tom Connelly
Pictured from left is Turner Sharp, Susan Sharp, John Fichtner, Kathleen Simpson, Tom Connelly, Bridget Tincher, Ron Bucholtz, Carol Pamer, Ed Gertler
It was hard to leave this spot but we had miles to go. Camping was at Hancock Beach (mile 25.9) river left. Measured a Ponderosa Pine at 7.6’ and 129.6’.
Photo by John Fichtner
Notice the evidence of fire. I would estimate 75 percent of the area we saw have been burnt in last 20 years.
Day 3. Scouted Bailey’s Rapid from river right. Two of us messed it up but no flips. Camped at Lower Yellow Pine Bar (mile 36.7) river right. This gave us a good view of Big Mallard Rapid. I measured a Rocky Mountain Doug-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca)at 6.1’ and 111.2’ and a Ponderosa Pine at 7.5’ and 114.2’
Photo by Turner Sharp
Pictured is Tom Connelly , John Fichtner
Day 4. Only one boat messed up at Big Mallard but no flip. We stopped at the Buckskin Bill Museum at Five Mile Bar. Some of us got beer and ice cream. Bill died in 1980; a German couple bought the property, developed the museum, and lives here year round. Camped at Bluebird Hole (mile 53.7) river right
Day 5. This was a lay over day with a late breakfast. Various hikes from camp scared up a rattlesnake, some Big Horn Sheep,lots of bear scat but no bears, some Mule Deer, plenty of Chukars and one big Ponderosa. The river terraces had plenty evidence of pit homes made by the original inhabitants.
Sorry I did get any measurements of this tree but I was informed it was equal or slightly larger then the biggest on at Corn Creek.
Photo by Tom Connelly
Pictured Bridget Tincher
Photo by Bridget Tincher
This view is looking west and downstream. It illustrates the north bank with a southern exposure is mostly grassland with some scattered Ponderosa Pines and the more heavily timbered south bank with a northern exposure.
Typical white sand beach camping area with a fish filled pool.
Photo by John Fichtner
Measured a Doug-fir on a river terrace about 100’ above the Campground at 6.6’ and 78.0’
Day 6. When we pulled away from the previous night camped we encountered this herd of Big Horn Sheep.
Photo by Carol Pamer
Camped at T-Bone Creek (mile 71.6) river right and measured a Douglas-fir at 9.0 and 113.5’ and a Ponderosa Pine 6.1’ and 102.2’
Day 7. We pulled out at the Carey Creek Boat Ramp, several miles below Vinegar Creek and about 25 miles upriver from the town of Riggins. We de-rigged and somehow stuffed all our gear into vehicles and made it to Riggins to one of the wonders of the world, an automatic “groover “cleaner. All human waste must be carried down the river to be disposed of in sewer system. Recently several areas have installed what is essentially a large dishwasher that can dump multiple containers of human waste and go through a wash and rinse cycle making a distasteful job almost bearable. The first time we came across one it so impressed us that we had our picture taken with it.
Had a leisurely dinner in Riggins and headed to our reserved campsite (Swinging Bridge) in the Boise National forest near Banks Idaho. Enroute, I intended to measure several large Ponderosa Pines in the State Park near McCall Idaho. The CBH were 14.5’ and 13.7’ but we had dawdled over dinner and drinks to long and it was to dark to take height readings.
The swinging Bridge campground elevation was at 3300’ was a much wetter site. Measured a Doug-fir at 11.4’ and 147.5’
Photo by John Fichtner
Pictured Turner Sharp
One of our party had not had his fill of paddling and was off to a self-supported solo paddle in his C-1. His goal was to do the Yellowstone River from the Park to it confluence with the Missouri. I believe he made the 550 miles in 20 days not counting his shuttle time. Several of the others were flying out of Salt Lake City so we camped on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. There are no trees but it is really a unique experience to camp there and I highly recommend it. For more information on see the following links:

Typical view on Antelope Island
by tsharp
Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:52 am
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Blennerhasset Island State Historical Park

The Island is located in the Ohio River about one mile downriver from the confluence of the Little Kanawha River in Wood County, WV. It is owned by the Dupont Corporation and has been leased to the State of West Virginia since the 1970s for use as a state park. It features a reconstruction of the Blennerhasset Mansion and several other buildings and is only accessible by boat. I spent two days here in October and November measuring trees on the developed upriver end of the Island.
Additional information may be found at these links:
What follows is a list of the larger trees I measured listed by descending height.
Height', DBH", CBH"/'
Sycamore- Platanus occidentalis
121.7, 62.6, 199.8/16.7
117.7, 88.4, 277.7/23.1 DBH taken at 5’
Cottonwood- Populus deltoides
111.2, 37.2, 116.9/9.7
111.1, 42.8, 134.5/11.2
Silver Maple- Acer saccaharinum
109.5, 35.7, 112.2/9.3
107.3, ----, ----
Tulip-poplar - Lirodendron tulpifera
100.4, 36.7, 115.3/9.6
Black Walnut - Juglans nigra
98.1, ----, ---- Plantation
96.4, 43.8, 137.6/11.5
96.2, 43.6, 137.0/11.4
89.2, 38.9, 122.2/10.2
----, 60.6, 190.4/15.9 Double stem
Hackberry - Celtis occidentalis
87.2, 29.9, 93.97.8 DBH taken at 4’
Black Cherry - Prunus serotina
86.2, 26.3, 82.6/6.9
73.9, 29.1, 91.4/7.6
Black Locust -Robina pseudoacacia
77.6, 24.7, 77.6/6.5
American Elm -Ulmus americana
64.6, 22.5, 70.7/5.9
Boxelder -Acer negundo
55.4, 23.2, 72.9/8.1
Paw Paw - Asimina triloba
42.2, 10.1, 31.7/2.6
33.3, 10.6, 33.3/2.8

I took additional measurements on the large circumference Sycamore (23.1) and the two Paw paws/
The Sycamore circumference had to be measured at 5’ to get above a cluster of sprouts that made the bole swell at 4 ½'. The six sprouts ranged from 2 to 12” dbh, 4 ½ from the main bole. It appears this tree may have started life as a double stem with one of the stems being removed and sending out numerous sprouts. The stub of this stem has completely healed over with only a bulges showing where it was. I took a circumference measurement at ground level on the upslope side at 34.7’ and at 1’ above ground level at 31.5’ I believe that taking the diameter where I did (5')removed the influence of the long gone second stem. The crownspread of this tree was 127’ and 72’ taken at right angle to the first measurement. Total AF points 420.3. Height to first major limb was 19’ and second major limb 37’
About 75 percent of the trees are Sycamores and Silver Maples except for the Walnut plantation and a number or large walnut near the Mansion. There were many multi-stem Sycamore which will be measured at a later date. I did not see but one multi-stem Silver maple. There were still a lot of leaves on the Sycamores and Silver Maples but not the Cottonwoods. The height measuring was not as easy as I anticipated. Other tress noted but not measured include: Yellow Buckeye (tops blown out), Red Mulberry, Crateagus sp., and Dogwood.
The trees measured were on the developed upriver end of the Island which is maintained understory free by mowing. There is a Walnut plantation established in the 1930’s by a previous owner. The DBH in this plantation hovered around 25” but the tallest walnut was in this plantation.
The Rucker Index for the ten tallest species is 91.6'. I covered maybe 50 acres of this 500+ acre island which is about 5 miles long. Because of the islands past exploitation I would not expect to find very many exceptional trees but who knows.
Photo by Turner Sharp
Pictured Susan Sharp and a Sycamore with a Circumference at 5' at 23.2'
Photo by Turner Sharp
Pictured Susan Sharp and a Paw Paw with a CBH of 2.8'
This Paw Paw will probably make the WV Big Tree list since the previous ones are all dead.
by tsharp
Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:48 am
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Cucumber-tree in the suburbs

ENTS: I recently had the privilege of measuring a large cucumber in Stark County, North Canton, Ohio. The girt was 24.5'. height 90.5', and crown spread 84' which gives it a AF score of 406. The tree is in a back yard and the crown extends over two neighbors yards. This is the AF National Champ and a picture can be seen on Ohio Big Tree web page:
I have been so used to getting lower heights when measuring behind other people that I was somewhat taken aback that my height measurement was 11.5' higher. In a brief conversation with Brian Riley, the Ohio State big tree coordinator he confirmed that he used a tape and clinometer for his height determination. Even though I was rushed because of an approaching thunderstorm and not ideal conditions(gusty winds) i believe i got an accurate height. This tree is worth visiting. It is only about 2 miles off of Exit 109 of I-77. It is in a gated development but I had no trouble gaining access and the owner graciously allowed me to park in her driveway and measure the tree. Steve, Rand if you get a chance I would love for someone to double check on the height.
Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:41 am
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Updated WV Maximum Dimension List


Attached is a maximum dimension list for WV updated through 5/6/11. The list contains only trees/shrubs that are native to West Virginia. Any know dead trees have been removed with the intention of accumulating a historical maximum dimension list.
The surprise of the year was a Serviceberry with a height of 101 feet. It was ID as Amelanchier arborea - Common or Downy Serviceberry. It is on private property and the landowner recognized it as unusual and left a buffer zone of trees around it after selling some timber.
The East Maximum Dimension List that Jess Riddle developed shows 73.4' height for A. arborea - and 108.8' height for
A. laevis - Allegheny or Smooth Servicberry.
Any comments and questions are appreciated.
Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:48 pm
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Edison Arboretum and Johnson T. Janes Park

I am somewhat behind in getting some Rucker Indices organized from some tree measurements done last winter.
Both of these tracts are in the city of Parkersburg, Wood County, WV.

1. Edison Arboretum. 11/29/2010. The Wood County Board of Education owns this tract and acquired it when building a school in the early 1960's. About 10 acres was dedicated to an 'outdoor lab' for students and was heavily used by various classes in the school system in the late 60's and early 70's. Over the years use and maintainence declined until about 10 years ago the local Master Gardeners Club basically restored the trails and fence (no deer for 10 years), installed signage and labels. The elevation ranges from 700-850 feet with northwest aspect.
Northern Red Oak, Q. rubra, 5.8', 107.3':6.1',90.3'
Scarlet Oak,Q. coccinea,6.6,99.5
White Ash,F. americana,5.8,93.4
Red Maple,A. rubrum,6.9,90.5
Chestnut Oak,Q. prinus,4.2,89.0
Black Cherry, P. serotina, 4.6, 88.5
Big Tooth Aspen, P. grandentata, 3.3, 86.1
White Oak, Q. alba, 6.3, 82.9:7.1 77.8
Black Walnut, J. nigra, 2.9, 77.8
Virginia Pine. P. virginiana, 3.4, 77.5:3.6 66.5
American Elm, U. americana, 3.5, 73.8
Persimmon, D. virginiana, 2.6, 70.1
The RHI 10 is 89.2. The early sucessional species such as Virginia Pine, Persimmon, and Aspen are falling out of the stand.
I can not explain the lack of Yellow-poplar. Age of stand estimated from prior use at 50-75 years.

2. Johnson T. Janes Preserve. 1/4 and 1/10/2011.
This 90 acre tract is owned by the City of Parkersburg, in Wood County, WV and thus far is an undeveloped park with 90 percent of the acreage below the flood plain level of 610'. Much of the acreage can be classified as a wetland and is subject to periodic flooding from Worthington Creek which is a tributary of the Little Kanawha River with both being subject to backup water from the Ohio River. In some years much of the acreage can stay flooded for 2-3 weeks

Sycamore, P. occidentalis, 8.8, 121.5
Cottonwood, P. deltoides, 6.8, 106.9:8.2, 96.0
Silver Maple, A. saccharinum, 7.5, 103.6
Yellow-poplar, L. tulipifera, 7.7, 103.4
Pin Oak, Q. palustris, 9.0, 103.1
Bitternut Hickory, C. cordiformis, 6.1, 99.8
Shellbark Hickory, C. lacinosa, 5.4, 98.6
Green Ash, F. pensylvanica, 6.7, 97.6
Black Walnut, J. nigra, 3.8, 90.9:4.8, 76.1
Black Cherry, P. serotina, 5.1, 87.9
Red Maple, A. rubrum, 6.3, 82.0
Big Tooth Aspen, P. grandentata, 3.7, 78.6
River Birch, B. nigra, 5.2, 67.0
Boxelder A. negundo 3.4 62.0
The RHI 10 is 101.3. Seventy percent of the canopy is Sycamore and Silver Maple. The Yellow-poplar on this bottomland site is losing out in the canopy. I am pretty confident on the species ID for the Shellbark Hickory but the Squirrels had already hidden the nuts. I will be revisiting this tree for positive ID and because it is a taller Shellbark then any I have measured in WV. Age of stand estimated from a few ring counts at 50-75 years.

Turner Sharp

by tsharp
Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:09 pm
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Re: Osage Orange

NTS: One of the local common name for Osage-orange in WV and one that kids love to use is 'Monkey Brain' tree.
by tsharp
Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:33 pm
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West Virginia Big Tree Register

NTS: Two years ago I offered to help update the WV Big Tree Register which had been moribund for about 10 years. The WV Division of Forestry was very agreeable. With a lot of good ideas from the NTS board and Scott Wade's PA list I listed several goals to shoot for when updating the Register.

1. The Register should be online. Finally happened in summer of 2011.
2. All Multi-stem trees should be identified as such.
3. Any circumference not taken at the standard 4 1/2' mid slope height should be clearly indicated.
4. The register must indicate how the height measurement was made.
5. Include the three biggest point total trees in the register but also to include the largest circumference, tallest height, and widest spread. ie basically a maximum dimension list.
6. Update the register annually with the biggest point total tree reinspected within 5 years and the others within 10.
I introduced six district foresters to the sine based method of height determination with a clinometer and laser range finder and they did the bulk of the inspections and we probably got through 90 percent of the database in 2 years.

The results may be found here:


I will be involved for at least another year and intend to push for a better information on the website especially as it pertains to access/location. At present we only list the tree location to county and nearest town.

I value any comments on how the WV Big Tree Register is presented any any improvements that can be made.

Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:52 pm
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White Pine and Hemlock heights

Steve, NTS: sjharlow wrote It's interesting that white pines do so well in the northern and southern parts of their range. I've been wondering for a while why there doesn't seem to be any super tall pines between northern PA and North Carolina. Anyone have an idea?
I believe there doesn't "seem" to be any because NTS people have not been to the appropriate sites to measure. i believe this is true for WV and probably VA but can not speak for other states. Presently the WV height record is 148' but this was not recorded from a good White Pine site. However I have a similar question about Hemlock in which i have spent some time trying to answer - so far without success. Consider this: Max height for Hemlock is 140'+ in PA and 170+ in NC. I would think WV would have some hemlocks in the 150-160' class. The present height record for WV is 130.3' measured by Dale Luthringer at Cathedral State Park in 2003. I have recently visited several good hemlock sites(will post details later) but have not measured any tree over 130' I intend to continue to do so until I find some or the HWA beats me to it.
Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:40 pm
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Maryland Trees

NTS: I just recently entered the data from accumulated trip reports about Maryland Trees into the database that Mitch Galehouse is developing. It did not take as long as I thought. That makes three states with a pretty good accumulation of tree info in the database. There should be a lot more. I encourage NTS people with data filed away to take some inclement weather days this winter to enter what you can. This little project also gave me a chance to reread the reports that Colby Rucker posted. That was worthwhile.
Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:58 pm
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Middle Fork of Salmon River, ID

NTS: Friend Tom Connelly scored a boating permit in the 4-rivers lottery for the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Central Idaho. Other then Colorado River through the Grand Canyon this is the hardest permit to get. There was less than a 4% success rate for the 10,000 applicants in 2011.
So Susan and I headed to Idaho with seven other boaters for a put-in during the last week of July 2011. Our starting point will be in the Salmon-Challis National Forest at Boundary Creek with an elevation of 5800 feet. We will take-out at Cache Bar on the Main Salmon River 100 miles downstream and at an elevation of 3000. All but a one mile section at the putin is a federally designated Wild River flowing through the Franck Church River of No Return Wilderness.
En-route we stopped at Craters of the Moon National Monument and took in the stark beauty of this surreal landscape. After leaving Craters of the Moon
Photo by Susan Sharp
we made camp at the Sheep Trail Campground in the Sawtooth National forest about 20 miles east of Stanley, ID at 6500 feet elevation. Two Lodgepole Pines (P. contorta var latifolia) were measured before dark: Girth 3.2’ x 65.9'; and 3.6’ x 65.1’.
Stanley lived up to its icebox reputation as we awoke next morning to a frost and frozen water bottles.
After crossing the divide between main stem of the Salmon River and its Middle Fork we camped at the Boundary Creek Campground where we would rig our boats and get checked in by the ranger, We had two kayaks, two inflatable kayaks(IKS). two rafts, and two catarafts. The campground was on river left at 5,800’ elevation. A short distance upstream was Dagger Falls where we watched some salmonid species trying to attain its birthplace.
Photo by Tom Connelly
Measured two Rocky Mountain Douglas-firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii var glauca near the falls.
7.5’ x 93.0’, 8.4’ x 119.5'
Day 1: Stayed at Sheepeater Camp at mile 13.3 on river left. Elevation 5,200. This site also featured a much appreciated hot spring.
Measured a Lodgepole Pine at 5.6’ x 79.2’, two Ponderosa Pines (P. Ponderosa var scopulorum) at: 7.5' x 107.5', 8.4' x 119.5', and a Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera spp trichocarpa) at a 6.3' x 65.8'
Day 2: Our next Camp was to be at Marble Creek - right at mile 32.7. Elevation 4,500. Up to now we had already run the steepest part of the trip with most of the harder rapids but there is a a rapid that must be negotiated immediately upstream of our camp spot.
Marble Creek Rapid,aka Chipmunk) Class 3-
Photo by Susan Sharp
This benign looking rapid was anything but and the results were not pretty. We tallied four swimmers, both IKS and one captain each from a Cat and Raft. John Fichctner, as a passenger on a captainless raft, somehow stayed aboard. As we crawled ashore our humiliation was complete as we saw a group of mostly teenagers on a guided trip wave to us as they cleanly ran the correct line.
Measured 3 Ponderosa Pines at: 7.4' x 89.6', 6.5' x 95.0', 10.4' x 84.1' and a Doug-fir at: 5.4' x 104.3'
Many of the camp sites we used had evidence of the original inhabitants occupation. On the benches above the river it was not unusual to see multiple depressions in the ground which are commonly called pit houses. One is pictured below.
Photo by John Fichtner
Day 3: Next overnight stop was Cow Camp at mile 50.7 on river right. 4,000 elevation. Measured three nice Ponderosa pines at: 10.8'X 106.7', 12.1' x 121.1', 12.9' x 88.0' (top out)
Susan Sharp, 12.1' x 121.1'
Photo by Turner Sharp
Day 4 & 5 . The camp was at the confluence of Camas Creek at mile 60.3 on river right. Eleavation 3,800’.We have a layover day at this very nice camp with good shade , nice smelling Ponderosa Pines and good hiking . I hiked up Camas Creek about 2 miles checking out the vegetation along the creek.I measured two Water Birches (B.occidentalis) at: 2.1’ x 28.4', 1.6’ x 33.1': Black Hawthorne (Crateagus douglasii) at 1.7' x 32.3'. Other species noted along the creek were: Saskatoon Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), Rocky Mountain Maple (Acer glabrum), Blue Elderberry( Sambucus nigra spp cerulea). Also measured along the creek was Ponderosa Pine at 10.6' x 127.7', Doug-fir at 14.1' x 139.7'. It was while measuring this last tree that a bear came skedadling down the mountain after some hikers from our group above me spooked it. They never saw it and the bear never saw me even though it came within 75'
Pictured below is the large Pondersosa Pine that provided our campsite with much appreciated shade on our layover day.
12.4' x 109.0', Susan Sharp
Photo by Turner Sharp
The two shrubs on either side of the tree are Water Birch Clumps were typical of others observed . These are not the two I measured.
This trip was unique in that we had quite a collection of very competent boat women. Here the are posing near the mouth of Camas Creek.
Pictured are Bridget Tincher, Kathleen Simpson, Marilyn Polan, Susan Sharp
Photo by Turner Sharp
The following picture gives an idea of scale. Pointing almost due west to the confluence of the Middle Fork and Camas Creek at an elevation of 3800 feet the elevation to the first knob is 6,700 feet and the far ridge in the far background is 8600 feet. Our wonderful Ponderosa Pine at the campsite is barely visible right of center in the photo.
Photo by Susan Sharp
I am sure that Camas Creek got its name from the plant (Camassia quamash) whose bulb was edible and was/is an important part of Native American culture.
Day 6: Next overnite stop was Survey Camp on river left at mile 74.4 on river left. Elevation of 3500
Measured 3 Ponderosa Pines at : 9.8' x 100.8', 9.8' x 90.6', 8.7' x 85.1'. These three trees were ax scared from knee to head high - to collect pitch?
Other trees measured were a Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) at : 1.6' x 23.7’ and some Curlleaf Mountain-mahoghany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) at: 1.4' x 18.6', 1.8' x 24.1', 1.8' x 13.9'
Day 7: Our last overnite stop on the river was at Solitude Camp on river left at mile 92.8. Elevation of 3200. Very small camp with no hiking opportunities and only one accessible tree to measure. Doug-fir 11.7' x 103.8' This end of the Canyon is called the Impassable Canyon for a reason. We were only about 6 miles to our takeout at Cache Bar. However once we hit the main Salmon there is one more rapid of concern – Cramer Creek Rapid which was formed after heavy thunderstorms blew out the creek in 2003 Several of our party did not have pristine lines and Bridget had her first ever flip and Mike in his Cat was violently cartwheeled through the rapid and ejected but his passenger, John Fichtner, earned the name of Velcro britches because once again he was still in his seat after the boat landed upright. After righting the raft we derigged at Cache Bar, made a stop at the groover cleaner, and made it to the Scout Mountain Campground in the Caribou National Forest just outside Pocatello where I managed to measure one Doug- fir before dark at
6.2' x 95.3'
Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:25 pm
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Neola White Pine botonical area, WV

On October 8th I paid a visit to a stand of Oak and White Pine in the Monongahela National Forest near Neola, Greenbrier County, WV. Elevation along the access road is 2040 feet. I intended to see if I could find some 150+ class White Pines. The 10-15 acre stand was acquired by the Forest Service in the 1930’s and apparently has never been logged. It is an uneven age stand and after walking through it I have to agree that it exhibits “Old growth” characteristics. It is recognized as such by the Forest Service and is set aside as the “White Pine Botanical Area”.

I had a ½ day to devote to this stand but my timing was not the best. I got there from White Sulphur Springs about 8:30 AM and found that the Oaks, mostly White, were still In full foliage plus the convective valley fogs that are prevalent in this area was very thick with visibility a lot less then tree height. I had a very pleasant stroll through the stand but at 10:30 I still had not measured a single tree height but had recorded some of DBH’S of promising trees. After I got back to my vehicle the fog started to dissipate, and I walked back into the stand and managed to get the heights of three White Pines out of the six I had measured for DBH. The largest of the three was 10.7’ x 140.9 and is pictured below.

Photo by Turner Sharp

The other measurements can be found at:
Somewhat disappointed I crossed FS 96 and measured three trees along the bottomland thinking they may be taller along the North Fork of Anthony Creek. These trees would not be in the designated botanical area but they appeared to be the same age. However, the circumference and height averaged smaller with the tallest one at 9.8’ x 132.0’. That side of the road was been impacted by campers, fisherman and has some 4-wheeler damage.

Some Penn State researchers studied this stand an published a paper in the Journal of Ecology titled Dendroecological analysis of successional dynamics for a resettlement- orgin White Pine- Mixed Oak forest in the southern Appalachians, USA. An abstract may be found here:

The stand is real easy to access. From White Sulphur Springs take WV 62 north about 15 miles to Neola. Turn left onto FS Road 96. Continue about one mile and park at the gated FS Road 796 on the left at One Mile Run. The stand is on the left side of the road just travelled with the North Fork of Anthony Creek on your right. There is a Ranger Station in White Sulphur Springs and the person managing the desk only knowledge of the location was somewhere near Neola. I found it easy enough anyway.

This stand deserves another visit and I will be back and will pay more attention to the Oaks which had some good size to them and might even find some 150’ White Pines.

Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:11 am
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Gauley River National Recreational Area, WV

Gauley River National Recreational Area
I had a chance this fall to measure some trees located on some sites within the purchase area boundaries of the Gauley River National Recreational Area. This unit of the National Park service was established in 1988. Land acquisition has been slow with maybe 5,000 acres purchased out of a proposed 11,000 acres. Purchases are from willing seller only. The recreational area will stretch 25 miles from the outflow of the Summersville Dam in Nicholas County, WV to the remnants of the unincorporated town of Swiss. It will also include 5 ½ miles of the Meadow River and maybe 2 miles of Peters Creek which are the two largest tributarisies of the Gauley in this reach. This Unit is managed by the NPS New River Gorge National River office in Glen Jean, WV. It is a popular destination for whitewater boaters both private and commercial. Probably 50,000 boaters use the river during September and October recreational releases from the dam. This unit was established as a unit of the National Park Service after a long fight (10 years) over a proposed pumped storage project which would have required building another dam and have drowned most of canyon.
The elevation at the outflow of the dam is 1400 feet. At Swiss it is 760 feet.
The canyon cut by the river is rugged and in most areas near the river there is abrupt increase in elevation of 400 to 6oo’ with some cliffs to 100 feet. He river did have a history of Log drives. The railroad did not get built into the canyon until 1930 but has been abandoned along the Gauley and Meadow Rivers upstream of Peters Creek
Many small drainages dump into the river and I have identified 26 on river right 20 on river left along the Gauley, 15 along the Meadow and 2 along Peters creek. Many of them are not named on topo maps even though the locals tend to have a name for most. For anybody who likes to crawl in steep ground in Rhododendron while measuring trees it is heaven. There are a least three patches of Old growth I have visited but have not measured. There are no official trails in the area except at Carnifax Ferry State Park but in the less rugged portions there are now several roads recently constructed for access to the river.
The two drainages in which I measured were picked because their thin canopy allowed me to get decent height measurements before leaf fall. The canopy is thin because of fairly recent timber cutting. Both are on river right (descending) and are not named so I will label them consecutively from the dam as RR-#11 and RR -#14. Both sites were above the steeper sections that are closer to the river. They are about 14 river miles below the Summersville Dam. Trees measured were at an elevation of 1420’ +/-60’
Gauley River NRA RR - #11
Tsuga canadensis 122.4, 6.5 no HWA
Fraxinus americana 121.3, 5.6
Platanus occidentalis 119.8, 7.5
Tilia americana var.
heterophylla 113.8, 6.4
Lirodendron tulipifera 112.6, 6.1
Carya cordiformis 111.8, 5.8
Quercus rubra 106.4, 6.9
Fagus grandifolia 102.1, 4.4
Acer rubrum 100.8, 4.4
Juglans nigra 84.5, 4.2
RHI 10 for RR - #11 = 109.6’
The above site looks like it had a diameter limit cut about 25 years ago. I noticed there was almost no residual stand damage but after walking upstream in the hollow realized the loggers had a ½ mile straight shot skidding right down the middle of the narrow stream bed to a log landing near level with Panther Mountain Road (CR 22).
Gauley River NRA RR - #14
Platanus occidentalis 105.9, 6.8
Tsuga Canadensis 98.7, 6.1 no HWA
Lirodendron tulipifera 95.6, 6.0
Quercus alba 93.2, 5.9
Quercus rubra 92.8, 7.5
Acer saccaharum 92.6, 6.1
Fagus grandifolia 83.1, 6.8
Betula lenta 82.9, 3.4
Amelanchier arborea 82.9, 2.5 tentative ID to species
Acer rubrum var.
rubrum 82.4, 5.7
RHI 10 for RR - #14 = 91.0’
This stand had a heavy timber cut about 15 years ago and part of it looks like cattle have access to the stream. It also contains the tallest serviceberry I have ever measured but not close to the state record of 101’ in Upshur County.
For more information on the Gauley River Recreational Area see:
by tsharp
Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:55 pm
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Rothkugel Plantation, WV

NTS: I had a chance to stop and measure some trees in this plantation the afternoon of 10-22-2011. Gaines McMartin has previously posted about this site. His comments and some good pictures can be found here:

I thought I would add a little more information about this site. It is located near Thornwood, Pocahontas County, WV along WV 28 not less than ½ mile from its intersection with US 250. Pictured below is a sign along the road marking the location of the entrance of a trail (right of sign) that loops through the stand.
Photo by Turner Sharpon an earlier visit to the stand 6/20/2011

The elevation at this sign is 2,920’. The aspect is west to northwest. There is a small hollow with an intermittent stream to the right of this entry trail. I walked up this trail about 2/3 way to about 3120’ measuring trees until I got good heights and CBHs for 5 dominant Norway Spruce (Picea abies) and 5 European Larch (Larix decidua). The trail later loops to the right to the other side of the small hollow and comes back to WV 28. Instead of doing the loop one could continue up to the top of Smoke Camp Knob at 4200’ elevation but would have left the plantation. This trail is marked as FS 324 on the official Forest Service map

My five tree height average for Norway Spruce was 120.8’ and lower then Gaines 7 tree average of 122.7’. The tallest Norway Spruce I measured was at 135.5’ and will be height record for West Virginia .The five tree average for the European Larch was 102.1 with the tallest at 104.9’. The complete listing of trees measured can be found in the Trees Database at:

Max Rothkugel was in the employ of George Craig and Son Lumber Company of Philadelpia, Pa when he established this 150 acre plantation in 1907. Site preparation consisted of burning the slash left over from previous logging operations. Apparently Rothkugel had a failure on a 20 acre experimental tract in 1906 because of birds and squirrels getting most of his broadcast seeds. In 1907 instead of broadcasting seeds his workers spot planted groups of seeds about six feet apart. His goal was to plant about 60 % Spruce and 40 % Larch with occasional strips of Black Locust to discourage grazing by sheep and cattle. The Spruce and Larch seeds were obtained from Josef Janwein’s Seed House in Tunsbruck, Tyrol. The Black Locust seeds from Willadaen Nursery in Warsaw, Ky.

Apparently several years after its establishment fire got into the stand and the young seedlings may have been reduced to 25% of their original coverage. The area burnt soon had blackberries and were much appreciated by the local population but was soon followed by native hardwoods. In the area I covered the crown canopy was at most 25 percent Spruce/Larch. I did not notice any Black locust or any reproduction of Spruce or Larch. The USFS acquired the stand in 1924. Driving along the highways near the little towns of Durbin, Frank, Bartow and Thornwood one cannot help but notice a number of Spruce and Larch trees about the same age decorating people’s yards and fence rows which may have affected the survival rate in the plantation.
I had the privilege of visiting Buckland State Forest in Massachusetts with some ENTS to see a Spruce/Larch plantation. My impression is that the Massachusetts site has better moisture conditions and a deeper, richer soil. If the Massachusetts site is a CCC plantation it means it had to be planted after 1933 which would make it at least 26 years younger than the Rothkugel Plantation. The spruce there are pushing 140 -150’ with at least one measured slightly over 150’. The Rothkugel is pushing 125-135’ range although I believe we may find a few 140’ trees. The big difference between the stands was the vigor of the Larch at Buckland. I believe some of them are approaching 150’. I did not see any Larches in Rothkugel in a dominant crown position and most look sickly. I would be surprised to find one at 110’. It would be nice to get a confirmed age of the Buckland State Forest stand.

More information may be found in the Forest Quarterly, Volume VI published by the New York State College of Forestry in 1908. It may be found at the following link:

On pages 40-46 is an article by Max Rothkugel titled Management of Spruce and Hemlock Land in West Virginia.
Additional information may be found in a publication titled 50 Year History of the Monongahela National Forest. Pertinent information is found in chapter 6, page 44. The rest of the publication makes interesting reading as it covers the early years of the National Forest. It may be found at the following link:

Turner Sharp
by tsharp
Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:01 pm
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Fanny Bennett Hemlock Grove - WV

Fanny Bennett Hemlock Grove – near Cherry Grove, WV
I had a chance to visit this stand in October of 2011. Several people had told me that the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA) had heavily impacted the stand so I thought I should get some measurements while there are still some to get.
This 70 Acre tract is on the Potomac Ranger District of the Monongahela National Forest. The stand was acquired by the Nature Conservancy in 1966 and transferred over to the United States Forest Service in 1969. The stand is easily accessed. From the town of Cherry Grove in Pendleton County, take WV 28 south 3.2 miles to a right turn on Sawmill Branch Road (CR 28/10) and follow this road 2.3 miles directly to the tract boundary on the left.
The Hemlocks had a nice columnar shape with deeply furrowed bark and a more pronounced reddish cast then I have been used to seeing. Elevation was 3,000’ at Sawmill Branch which comes off of the eastern slope of Spruce Knob- the highest elevation in WV at 4,663.
I covered maybe 20 acres of the 70 acre stand. This included the bottomland along Sawmill Branch and a small unnamed tributary. I also covered about a 100 foot elevation gain on each side of the small tributary. HWA has been present from at least 2003. My estimate is that 50 percent of the Hemlocks are dead with many on the ground or with tops out. Another 25 percent are heavily infested with HWA and most of the other 25 percent are lightly infested. Several of the trees looked relatively healthy and some of these were highly visible along the road so and checked with the Forest Service to see if any treatment had been applied to the stand. They confirmed no treatments were done.
My main effort was to get an indication of maximum height and circumference of the remaining Hemlocks. Maximum height was 118.9’ with maximum circumference of two dead trees of 9.8’ both with their tops out and one with bark the other with no bark.
I soon tired of crawling through all the deadfall and after measuring 8 or 9 Hemlocks I headed back to the car and measured a few hardwoods on the way out. Also noticed were lots of Beech sprouts but no mature trees. The complete listing can be found on the “Trees Database at:
One of the last trees measured was initially tallied as a Chestnut Oak but after noticing some Chinkapin Oak leaves on the ground I changed my ID. However upon later consideration maybe I saw Chinkapin leaves which is found in that area. So that species ID must remain tentative.
In a way I am glad I did not see the stand in its original condition. It was painful enough.
This tract is in the Potomac River drainage and would be considered in the Ridge and Valley physiographic province. Sawmill Branch is a tributary of Big Run which is a tributary of the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River. How’s that for a river name.
For another description of the stand check out this link.
by tsharp
Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:48 pm
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Dorsey Farm Mt. Nebo, WV

NTS: In May of 2011 I found myself in the far suburbs of Mr. Nebo high on a ridge bouncing across a rutted farm road on a 4-wheeler and driven by a person who belatedly informed me he was legally blind. We were crossing the farm of Jerry Dorsey, the driver, who said not to worry it was only his lack of peripheral vision. He was going to show me a large Yellow-poplar which was a corner tree referenced in an 1860 deed. It turned out to be over 4’ diameter, but was impossible to get a good height reading so I promised to come back in the fall after leaf drop to get an accurate reading. Before leaving Jerry showed me a patch of timber on another part of the farm which he had cut 25 years ago but left the hemlocks and less valuable hardwoods. Since the property had been in his family for over 150 years he thought he was the first one to cut in that patch. The hardwoods showed a lot of old growth characteristics.. The Hemlocks ranged from 3-4’ diameter.
On 11/17/2011 I returned to the Dorsey farm accompanied by Dr. Amy Hessl and Matt Merrill from West Virginia University. Dr Hessl is associate professor of Geology at the University. I am not sure what Matt is working on but it requires coring Hemlocks and he has been to several tracts that I am somewhat familiar with including Fanny Bennett and Shavers Mountain.
The Yellow-poplar is centered in picture below. It measured at 13.8 girth and 135.6’ height. No record holder but a nice tree.
13.8' x 135.6' x maximum spread 86'
Photo by Turner Sharp 11/17/2011

Matt cored two Hemlocks. He later told me they were in the 250-300 year age class but were pretty poor quality cores. I believe he is on the prowl for 400+ year age class Hemlocks.

The two Hemlocks that Matt cored were measured at 12’ x 110.8' and 11.7’ x 107.7’.
Matt Merrill coring the 12.0' x 110.8 'Hemlock

Entered into the "Trees database" at
Photo by Turner Sharp 11/17/2011

by tsharp
Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:50 pm
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Willowbrook Ravine, Parkersburg, WV

NTS: I am always on the lookout for notable size trees within the city limits of Parkersburg, WV. One day while driving on a suburban side street I spied a massive crown arising from a ravine next to Willowbrook Drive. Not surprisingly it turned out to be a Tuliptree and from the road it looked like the ravine was filled with mature Tuliptrees and Beech. The ravine was formed by an unnamed run going into Pond Creek which is a small tributary of the Ohio River. The site is pinched in by a Home Depot store, a housing development and a Masonic Home for elderly Masons. The ravine features a pond right above the Home Depot store and a driveway leading to a former home site overlooking the pond. Above the pond the ravine split into three small steep sided prongs. All three prongs showed evidence of filling at their very head from road and homebuilding construction activity. The site totaled 6-7 acres and ranges in elevation from 640-720 feet. I was able to get permission from three different landowners to wander about and measure trees. All measurements were made during December 2011, January and March of 2012.
The Tuliptree (Lirodendron tulipifera) originally spotted is pictured below with about 30’ of the trunk down in the hollow and not visible in the picture. It measured 12.8’ x 126.3’ x 125’ (maximum crown spread).
Photo by Turner Sharp 12/10/2011
Another Tuliptree turned out almost as big at 12.8’ x 120.7’. Another was 8.7’ x 133.2’ and is the tallest tree I have measured within the city limits of Parkersburg. Two of the prongs were dominated by the Tuliptrees and Beech with a few Blackgum scattered as co-dominants in the canopy. The other prong had a much richer mix of species and was probably more representative of the original forest.
Toward the top of the ravines and on small flat areas were some Oaks and Hickorys.
A number of planted specimens (native and exotic) persist on the site and were measured near the former house site and on the margins of the wooded areas. Two of these plantings I have not identified.
Other notable trees include: Black Oak (Quercus velutina) at 14.6’ x 96.8’ x 95’ (maximum crown spread), American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) at 9.7’ x 114.1’, 10.7’ x 113.6’, Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) at 8.7' x 47.5' x 56' (maximum crown spread) and the namesake tree for the site found at the head of the pond: Black Willow (Salix nigra) 3.7’ x 53.1’
A full list of trees measured can be found on the Trees database at:
by tsharp
Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:20 pm
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North Bend State Park, WV

I visited North Bend State Park near Cairo, Ritchie County, WV on December 19th and 22nd 2011 to do some tree measuring and make myself scarce for Christmas shopping duties. This time I targeted some bottom land along the North Fork of Hughes River. Access was along the Connector Trail leading from the park to Tunnel #13 on the North Bend Rail Trail near Cornwallis, WV

The Connector Trail follows the river right (descending) side of the river and was originally a spur line from the Main B&O main line. It is about a mile long and is at an elevation of 690’. The bottom land varies in width from 30 to 200 yards wide and prior to a dam being constructed a few miles upstream flooded almost every year. Prior to the park being established in 1950 this was in pasture/cropland.

My goal was to walk along the trail until I got at least 10 species for a Rucker Index. I had to walk the entire mile to get eleven species. About 75 percent of the canopy is Sycamore (P. occidentalis) and Tuliptree (L. tulipifera) and were mostly in the 6-8’ girth range. An occasional larger girth tree was found near the river where it did not interfere with previous farming activities. There was a ¼ mile stretch where the stand density was high and the heights looked good. It was along this stretch I measured 15 Sycamores and 8 Tuliptrees over 130’ with the tallest Sycamore being 139.6’ and Tuliptree at 142.7’. Measuring heights from the trail was easy. It was about 10 above the bottom land level and thanks to a high deer population there was no ground clutter except for some Pawpaws. Several times I measured heights of 3-4 trees from one location. This required one to make sure to match the dbh and height to the appropriate tree. It was while measuring in this section that I took a couple of long laser shots of across the river of Sycamores with one coming in at 148.9’. On December 23rd I returned and hiked the Nature Trail down to verify this height and settled on 145.6’ which is a height record for WV. The two pictures below show this tree.
Photos by Turner Sharp 12/23/2011
17.6' x 145.6' x 105'

This tree beat the WV height record previously held by the Great Webster Sycamore which was measured by Will Blozan, Jess Riddle and Ron Busch in 2005 at 144.3’. It was toppled on a windy day in August 2010 after suffering a bout of arson.
The bottomland on this river left (descending) side was very narrow or nonexistent so was probably never totally cleared for farming. Large sycamores dotted the river bank downstream for quite a distance. Pictured below are two of them.

Sycamore Twin
Left 13.0' x 135.6', Right 13.3' x 135.2'

A fallen giant. Usually they fall in the river.
17.1' x ? The CBH was taken at 4 1/2' above root collar

The Rucker Height Index for this site is RH10= 102.3’. The entire list of tree measured may be found at:

Two species that are conspicuous in their absence are Cottonwood and River Birch
I had previously measured trees along the Giant Tree Trail in the park with a RH10 of 122.5. Combing the two data sets gives the park a RH10 of 125.6’

The original trip report is on the old Google Groups list.
And the full list of trees measured on that trip is listed in the Trees database at:

by tsharp
Fri May 25, 2012 6:35 pm
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