Elk Pen Trail, Big Ivy (Coleman Boundary)

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Elk Pen Trail, Big Ivy (Coleman Boundary)

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:07 pm

This trail was created for a scene in "The Last of the Mohicans" from 1992. I'd hiked it over a year ago and noticed some sections of quality with a diversity of species not commonly seen outside of old growth forests. Indeed, there are some very old trees but the forest has been logged for the most part. There's an unbelievable upland, second growth hemlock forest consisting of 50+ hemlocks in the 95'-115' range. 95% are dead and the survivors have green only in the crowns. Sourwoods are particularly impressive. In the more disturbed areas, tulips dominate but in the diverse area, they play a small role. Maples are among the best I've seen in second growth forests.

I didn't make it up to the Walker Cove natural area. The sugars are huge and who knows how tall they get.

Tsuga canadiensis hemlock 127.7' (dead) 115.5' 108.5' 97.6' with witches broom
pinus strobus white pine 121.1' 122.1' 123.8' very young grove
acer rubrum red maple 103.4' 103.6' 110.2' 113.9' 122.7'
acer saccharum sugar maple 95.9' 114.5' 123.2' 126.9'
Oxydendrum arboreum sourwood 81.0' 81.4' 89.6' 91.4' 91.4' 94.9'
magnolia fraseri fraser magnolia 80.0' 91.0'
betula lenta black birch 93.7' 99.0'
juglans nigra walnut 87.9'
diospyros virginiana persimmon 84.0'
quercus rubra red oak 112.5' 113.6' 125.7' 130.7'
quercus montana chestnut oak 109.0' 113.7'
quercus alba white oak 107.0'
Fagus grandifolia beech 103.3' 103.3' 115.3'
prunus serotina black cherry 107.1' 116.5'
fraxinus amercana white ash 117.3' 119.8'
aesculus flava yellow bukeye 106.8' 108.5' 108.7'
tilia heterophylla white basswood 117.2' 121.6'
carya glabra pignut hickory 122.3'
carya ovalis red hickory 115.1'
carya alba mockernut hickory 97.2' 104.5' 105.2' 108.0' ~3' dbh
carya cordiformis bitternut hickory 102.9' 113.5' 136.1' (these could be carya glabra but I lean toward cordiformis)
liriodendron tulipfera tuliptree 131.8' 132.0' 133.0' 135.3' 136.0' 137.8' 138.7' 142.2' 143.8'
some were quite old with ragged crowns and reiterations. Others were
young rockets.

There's plenty more to search. There's old growth in much of the Coleman Boundary area. Ents have searched in the Waterfall Creek section, which was loaded with the largest hemlocks outside of the Smokies. This will be an ongoing project.
Last edited by bbeduhn on Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Elk Pen Trail, Big Ivy (Coleman Boundary)

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:06 pm

Brian, Good post as usual! I bet that is one heck of a beautiful place in person. I have that movie and remember how the scenery really helped capture that pre-european look of the American Forest. I'll have to check it out again and look more closely at the trees. Larry

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