A 50m NY Pine

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ElijahW
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A 50m NY Pine

Post by ElijahW » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:59 am

NTS,

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time in the Saranac Lake area of the Adirondacks, mostly hunting deer, but also checking up on the outstanding White Pines north of Ampersand Mountain. The promising tract was initially located by Rob Leverett and later surveyed by Rob and Bob Leverett, Erik Danielsen, Jared Lockwood, and myself in 2017. Monica Jakuc Leverett and Betty Austin have also visited the general area. Our report can be found here: http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=105&t=8127.

Erik located and measured two 160’+ White Pines, the taller of which came in at 163.9,’ or roughly an inch and a half short of the 50m mark. So far as I know, no tree (in modern times) in NY State has been measured to a height above 50 meters using the sine (or another reliable) method. A White Pine in the 1675 Grove in Paul Smiths was reported to be 170’ tall at one time, but it certainly is not now. Other sites with White Pine and Tuliptree have shown much potential, but so far have not reached 50m.

Erik’s “Slow River Pine” is now at least 166.5’ tall, according to my Trupulse 200X. I’ll have to explain why I used the term “at least”: The mid slope location I chose resulted in a CBH of 13.21,’ which was less than the 13.27’ arrived at by the careful work of Erik and Jared in 2017; this means that my measurement of the tree’s CBH was higher on the trunk than it ought to have been, and that the tree is likely closer to 167’ tall. That detail may seem a little nit picky, but it does matter. Anyways, we have our first 50m tree, hopefully one of many to come.

On the same visit, I also measured three new additional trees of note:

White Pine

162.5’ x 13.12’
158.4’ x 9.92’

Tamarack

109.7’ x 6.56’

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: A 50m NY Pine

Post by dbhguru » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:08 pm

Elijah,

Congratulations! Over 50 meters - legitimately. BTW, the Grandmother Pine in Pack forest was once reported as 175 feet tall as measured by SUNY foresters using tape and clinometer. At the time, it was 145 feet in height based on a measurement using a transit. Grandmother was one of the early mis-measured trees that alerted me to the problem with tape and clinometer measurements. Jack Sobon, my timber framer-architect friend had learned the lesson a number of years before. He didn't trust the measurements coming from conventional sources. I learned a lot in those early days.

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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Larry Tucei
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Re: A 50m NY Pine

Post by Larry Tucei » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:49 am

Elijah-

50m Wow congratulations! It is likely that many Pines in the South equaled are exceeded that height but that was long ago.
Ms. Loblollies are starting to reach heights of 150' and it is likely that in my lifetime they could attain heights of 160+.

Larry

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: A 50m NY Pine

Post by Erik Danielsen » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:46 am

On September 10 2020 a group of eight gathered at the pulloff on Rt. 3: myself, Rob Leverett, Rob's son Devin, Howard Stoner, Howard's friends Betsy, Greg, and (I warned them I don't remember names well), and finally journalist Annie Stoltie from Adirondack Wild. We were there to visit and perform a quasi-annual remeasurement of the Slow River Pine. Howard was for a long time the holder of NY's tallest accurate tree measurement, on a ~160' White Pine in the Elder's Grove that has since settled down to a height a few feet shorter. Other trees claimed the title of tallest measured tree in the meantime, but none met the 160' threshold of that original measurement from the Elder's Grove.

After a beautiful walk through the acres of old trees between Rt. 3 and the bog, we crossed the narrow strip of wetland between the esker ridge and the island. I got to work wrapping the circumference (which I did not write down, but Annie did, so I'll get that from her). Meanwhile Howard measured the tree with his trusty old Nikon 440 and clinometer from a low viewpoint to the west and immediately found that the tree's height did exceed the former record. With that verified, he surprised me with a sort of passing-the-torch ceremony, reading aloud a selection from Wendell Berry and presenting a forestry D-tape with a little gold bow on it. Elijah, based on this precedent, you'd better not find any new trees to break this record unless you want me to have to read poetry to you.

From there we headed up the knoll to the east to get a good viewpoint for the careful remeasure. I couldn't wait to see how much it had grown! But with the tripod-mounted 200LR I simply could not get a height as high as the 2019 measurement. I didn't see any obvious crown damage, but it has been a very dry summer, which brings to mind the questions about droopy limbs and water stress we discussed regarding the "shrinking" pines at St. Paul's Cemetery in Hancock.

Even so, my final figure was 164.74'. Still over 50m! Measuring with his own instruments from a few yards away, Howard also independently came up with 164.7. Since we were discussing measurement methods and process with the journalist, the tightly matched independent measurements really served to emphasize the consistency possible with ENTS Sine method.
Howard Stoner and I with the crown of the Slow River Pine in the far background.
Howard Stoner and I with the crown of the Slow River Pine in the far background.
In all it was a great visit. We were also treated to a full flush of Cottongrass in the bog surrounding the island, the odd leaves of Checkered Rattlesnake-Plantain orchids growing beneath the tall pine, an Old-Man-Of-The-Woods mushroom hiding in the upland, and many other interesting natural history observations. All this was topped off with an unexpected invitation to go have lasagna with some new friends. Not a bad 30th birthday.
Rob at the base of the Slow River Pine.
Rob at the base of the Slow River Pine.

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dbhguru
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Re: A 50m NY Pine

Post by dbhguru » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:48 am

Erik,

Soooo exciting! The verification of 164.7 versus 165.74 is really impressive, and yes, it reinforces our message about the accuracy of the sine method. Congrats to you and Howard.

BTW, I'm searching records past to compile a list of white pines that will populate a new 13 x 160 club, present and past. I think New York currently has two, or its it three? PA had the former Cornplanter Pine (13.0 x 167 or thereabouts) in Anders Run SP. In the mid-1990s, there was a huge pine in Cullasaja Gorge, NC, that may have been in the club. Can't remember its dimensions. It was over 13 feet in girth, Height was initially mis-measured. We may have settled on 157, but possible over 160. Must look back in the records.

Massachusetts has two members: the Thoreau Pine and the Ice Glen Pine. None of the former Cathedral Pines in Cornwall, CT. made the club that we know about. However, a huge pine in the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin makes (or made) the grade. I can get those dimensions from Lee Frelich.

13 x 160 is a high bar. None of the fine old pines in Cook Forest meet that bar. Nor, do any of the pines in Michigan's Hartwick Pines SP make it. Interestingly, we haven't confirmed any great whites in New Hampshire or Vermont meeting the bar. Maine? Forget it. There's a possibility in North Georgia, but in reaching for the sky, those pines tend to be slimmer.

BTW, the great MacArthur Pine in Wisconsin was never close to 160 feet in height, although I think its girth exceeded 17 feet.

It looks to me like the Dacks will be the place to find more 13 x 160s and further raise awareness about the rising dominance of the great whites in the Dacks.

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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ElijahW
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Re: A 50m NY Pine

Post by ElijahW » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:10 pm

Erik,

Rob told me about the lower height figure you had gotten. My initial reaction normally would be to assume that I had screwed something up last year, but I took great care with that measurement and have a high level of confidence in my result. I also have an equally high level of confidence in your measurement. I used a different laser than you (LTI Trupulse 200X vs. 200LR), but that probably would make very little difference, given the accuracy track records of both instruments. Weather (humidity and precipitation specifically) could be a factor, as could a crown injury (though that also sounds unlikely). I don’t have a good explanation for the disparity in heights; I’m not too concerned about it-just really curious.

As for the rest of your outing, it sounds like a blast. I’m sorry I missed out. From what Rob said, he had a great time, as well. Happy belated birthday!

Elijah

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ElijahW
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Re: A 50m NY Pine

Post by ElijahW » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:17 pm

Bob,

The Adirondacks have, as you guessed, either two or three pines that meet your criteria. All (or both) are in the Ampersand area, which is turning out to be one of the finest White Pine stands anywhere. What a place!

Elijah

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: A 50m NY Pine

Post by Erik Danielsen » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:08 am

Of the three 160' trees in the area, only two are at or near 13'cbh, and none of the trees measured to the upper 150s that may become 160s are in the 13'cbh range yet either, so I think for now it's just two. That's not to say there couldn't be more to find. 13'cbh pines in the adirondacks just keep piling up, so I think the bigger challenge in finding more pines to meet the 160x13 threshold will be finding more 160s.

Elijah, one other question that comes to mind is whether we measured from the same viewpoint. I made this remeasurement from the knoll to the east of the tree Jared and I measured from last time, but I did find myself wondering if a viewpoint to the west could be obtained that might see into other parts of the crown. The highest points in the crown do seem to be "behind" the highest-looking spots visible from the east. Either way, a measurement following a long period of cool, wet weather would be interesting to compare. I wish I had taken a clear photo of the crown on this occasion as well for future reference- if one of the highest branches broke, I don't think the damage would necessarily be visible from the ground.

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ElijahW
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Re: A 50m NY Pine

Post by ElijahW » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:59 pm

Erik,

I believe we used the same measurement viewpoint. If my 4.5' marker was visible from your location, our measurements were from roughly the same place. The tree's height will need to be tracked for several years to see what happens and in order to get a good idea of what the difference is. Like I said before, I'm not really bothered, but would like to get the height right in the long run.

Elijah

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dbhguru
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Re: A 50m NY Pine

Post by dbhguru » Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:26 am

Elijah,

The Grandmother Tree in Pack Forest was once reported by SUNY foresters to be 175 feet tall. I met the measurers in a late 1990s visit ofy the Foresters Steward Guild (which I was a member of) to Pack Forest. My friend Jack Sobon had measured the tree with a transit some years before to 145 feet. Eventually, SUNY accepted a measurement that I made of slightly over 150 feet. The Paul Smiths measurement was most likely a tape and clinometer measurement.

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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