Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

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#1)  Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

Postby ElijahW » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:02 am

NTS,

On March 11, while scouting a couple of state properties on the NY side of the Delaware River, I decided to continue south on US 209 past Milford, PA, and check out a little of the Water Gap National Recreation Area.  Dale Luthringer reported on this area on the Google Groups site about ten years ago, and it is not new to NTS.

Spackmans Creek runs down a ravine and under 209, and the small section of old growth White Pine-Hemlock forest is not detectable until you're almost in it.  In the top of one of the dead pines sits a Bald Eagle or Osprey nest; I'm unsure which.  Although HWA is present, some of the old hemlocks are still doing well, and a couple of drainages to the south of Spackmans contained impressive second-growth stands, as well.  I agree with Dale's assessment of the age of the pines at around 250 years.  The hemlocks may actually be a little younger.  With that said, I didn't come to measure hemlocks; my mission was the 163'+ Pine Dale originally reported on.  

The top of the tallest pine doesn't stand out from its neighbors, but its base is much lower, close to the water.  Though the top has been broken likely more than once, it's a pretty straight tree overall with an intact, healthy crown.  Using laser and tripod, I came up with a height of 165'5".  Subsequent emails with Dale suggest I probably did not hit the very top of the tree, and my mid-slope calculation was likely a little high.  I plan to return later this year, and expect to get 168' or so, but probably still less than 170'.

I didn't update the girth of the tree due to the steep slope and slick snow, nor did I take any photos.  As far as I could tell, no trail leads directly to the site, which is a good thing for its protection.  I caution any visitors to use care when navigating the slopes.  Also check out the neighboring creeks and their waterfalls; this is a beautiful place.

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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#2)  Re: Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

Postby Erik Danielsen » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:12 am

Wow! Driving through the Delaware Water Gap I've always imagined there must be some serious tree-hunting potential there. I've examined aerial images of the NJ side to identify some tall-looking areas but it sounds like the PA side has some serious stuff.
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#3)  Re: Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

Postby dbhguru » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:22 pm

Elijah, Erik,

  I recall when Dale first discovered that tall pine. It was especially exciting because we weren't seeing numbers in the 160s in that geographical region. I expect that in the distant past, the Pocono region had some dillies, but very few have survived or grown back. on the other hand, do we know for sure?

Bob
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#4)  Re: Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

Postby ElijahW » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:19 pm

NTS,

I was able to return this afternoon to the Spackmans Creek Pine in Eastern PA and rectify my previous measurement error.  Given some sound intel by Dale Luthringer, I set up tripod and laser about 50' further uphill and a good distance upstream from my first effort, and came up with a total height of 174.0'.  

I moved my ground level mark down a few inches, but about 8' of the height difference from March came by finding the true top of the tree.  From my previous shooting location, I could only see the underside of two or three of the ten or so "candles," a fact I didn't figure out until today.  

I don't intend to remeasure the tree's CBH, unless maybe with a monocular someday, so I'll stick with Dale's original CBH of 9.3'.  

Many thanks to Dale for his hints on where to measure from.

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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#5)  Re: Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

Postby djluthringer » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:56 am

HOOOOOOOLLLLYYYY MOOOOOOOOOLLLLYYYYY  !!!!!!!!!!!

Way to go Elijah!  That's great news!

So glad you were able to find a good view to the top.  That tree has been an absolute bear for me to measure/get a good vantage to both the top AND the bottom with one measurer.  Were you able to find the "van size" vantage rock I was talking about earlier, or did you find a new window?   Even from my "vantage rock" I wasn't sure if I was able to see all the candles, but knew I had a better one than at previous locations.  

After checking my records, the last I measured the pine was on 4/1/10 and had 9.7ft CBH x 168.3ft high.  If I had the highest candle, which may not be the case, that would suggest a fairly fast growing pine at roughly 0.8ft/year.

Currently, the Delaware Water Gap Pine is tied for the 3rd tallest pine known not only in Pennsylvania, but also the Northeastern U.S.  It is likely the full 3rd tallest, since the Feather Duster Pine has been in decline at Cook Forest for several years now, but I haven't been able to take a recent measurement for quite some time.

Were you able to take any pics of the tree?  Here's some pics I took back in 2010.

Great job !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dale

               
                       
DWG Spackman's Creek WP 9.7x174.JPG
                       
Spackman's Creek White Pine 9.7 x 174
               
               


               
                       
DWG Spackman's Creekc.JPG
                       
Spackman's Creek
               
               


               
                       
DWG Spackman's Creeka.JPG
                       
Spackman's Creek
               
               


               
                       
DWG Spackman's Creek tall EH & WP.JPG
                       
Spackman's Creek tall EH & WP
               
               


               
                       
DWG Spackman's Creek EH 7.5x145b.JPG
                       
Spackman's Creek EH 7.5 x 145
               
               


               
                       
DWG Spackman's Creek bowl.JPG
                       
Spackman's Creek bowl
               
               


               
                       
DWG Spackman's Creekd.JPG
                       
Spackman's Creek
               
               


               
                       
DWG Spackman's Creeke.JPG
                       
Spackman's Creek
               
               

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#6)  Re: Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

Postby ElijahW » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:46 pm

Thanks again, Dale.

I didn't take any pictures, though I had intended to do so.  I kind of got caught up in the measuring and neglected everything else.  After doing some thinking today, I figured a return trip to the pine for photos would be beneficial.  I think I can swing one this Saturday morning.  If you or anyone else is interested in accompanying me, I'd be game - just let me know.  

Focusing solely on the pine, I didn't notice any super tall hemlocks, but with the adelgid around, there's a good chance that tree's deceased.  

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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#7)  Re: Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

Postby djluthringer » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:25 am

Elijah,

That tall ~145ft hemlock was in good shape in 2007, but the stand did have HWA in it.  I suspect that if it is alive, that it's likely in bad shape.  I believe in 2010 I noticed a severe decline in all hemlocks at that site, and after seven years later with no treatment... things don't bode well.

Sorry, can't swing making it across the state with family & work commitments.  Please don't feel like you have to make a special trip just for photos.  I rarely take photos, since I more into measuring trees.  I really can't do both effectively at the same time.  I either have to measure only, or take pictures only.  For me, getting the measurements has always been more "fun".  But with superlative trees/sites, it's always nice to have a few pics, regardless of quality.  

Dale
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#8)  Re: Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

Postby Don » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:58 pm

The part of me that served as a field safety officer several times in the forty years I was either a forest technician or professional forester, has me making the casual observation that as much as we all love being in the woods, they can be the source of injury...hard to explain to the millions of visitors to the Grand Canyon, that there's a risk associated with entry into a wilderness, and it has to be borne by the visitor.
It occurs to me that Elijah's intuitive interest in 'anyone interested in accompanying him', especially in view of his comment for visitors to 'take care when navigating slopes'.  It sounds steep and potentially slippery in inclement weather.
Do be careful out there, bring friends when you can.  We want you back unharmed...with record-holding numbers!
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#9)  Re: Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

Postby ElijahW » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:46 pm

Don,

Your point is well taken.  Being out in the woods always carries a risk of injury or insect bite or any number of negative outcomes.  Everyone has different levels of physical capability and capacity for risk.  Some people are uncomfortable where others are not (but maybe should be).  I appreciate your concern and don't take the wild lightly.

The reason for the slick slope on my first visit was a combination of cold, hard ground, fresh snow, and the lack of a trail.  The most recent visit involved no snow, and I approached from the opposite side.  I wore shorts and sandals, and had no trouble getting around.  No real risk was involved, just a three or four minute uphill hike.  

I'll have to leave out future descriptions of the routes Erik and I have used to get to Zoar Valley's terraces.  That's way more exciting.

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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#10)  Re: Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA

Postby ElijahW » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:29 am

NTS,

Yesterday afternoon I made a humble pie and I've been munching on it since.  On my second attempted measurement of the Spackmans Creek Pine, I got a height of 174.0'; Saturday, I realized I had measured the top of the wrong tree.  I screwed up and have learned a valuable lesson:  Make sure you're looking at the same tree, top and bottom, when measuring it.  After shooting from three separate locations, I've settled on a height of 165.8'.  This was my best and most careful effort, and I'm comfortable with the result.  

The Hemlock Dale previously measured is still alive and healthy, despite the presence nearby of HWA.  It doesn't seem to have grown much since initial measurement, as I got it to 145.2'.  I've included a few photos from my visit below:
               
                       
DSC00972.JPG
                       
Spackmans Creek
               
               

               
                       
DSC00971.JPG
                       
Juvenile Bald Eagle (poor focus)
               
               

               
                       
DSC00968.JPG
                       
Spackmans Creek Pine (left)
               
               

               
                       
DSC00969edit2.jpg
                       
Spackmans Creek Pine top
               
               

               
                       
DSC00973.JPG
                       
145.2' Hemlock (Right side)
               
               


Elijah
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