Dawson Forest, GA

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bbeduhn
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Dawson Forest, GA

Post by bbeduhn » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:15 am

I did a race in Dawson Forest on Saturday. It's the site of an old nuclear facility where the government attempted to create a nuclear powered aircraft. The project never got off the ground (pun intended). They had an open air nuclear reactor (did wonders for the trees there). Anyway, portions of the forest have been cut, even in the 80's, 90's and 00's, but along the streams, nice tall trees have staked their claim. I admired many tall trees. I don't have a rangefinder just yet, and I was a bit busy running all day, but the white pines and tuliptrees look to be in the 130' range with a very tall hickory and some tall oaks, a few sycamores, shortleaf pine and sweetgum. If you get a chance to get out there, I can start you in the right direction. It's only 45 minutes north of Atlanta. I doubt I'll get back there any time soon. Only one white oak appeared to have advanced age. It's a young forest but a few spots yield good heights, especially for the age of the stands.
Brian

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bbeduhn
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Dawson Forest

Post by bbeduhn » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:11 pm

I forgot the most surprising find--extremely healthy young hemlocks! The largest was in the 15"/ 75' range. There were very few but they appeared to be Carolina hemlocks from a distance because the foliage was so thick and verdant. They're out of Carolina's range and are Eastern but I haven't seen such green hemlocks in several years.

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edfrank
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Re: Dawson Forest

Post by edfrank » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:17 pm

About Dawson Forest from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawson_Forest
Dawson Forest is a 10,130-acre (41.0 km2) public-use forest located in Dawson County, Georgia, southwest of Dawsonville. It is owned by the city of Atlanta, but is considered a state forest, as it is managed by the Georgia Forestry Commission.

It was purchased in 1971 from Lockheed, and was the previous site of the Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory (GNAL). The property is currently referred to as the Dawson Forest City of Atlanta Tract and managed by the Georgia Forestry Commission with a trail system open to the public.The tract is located approximately ten miles from the end of limited access on Georgia 400 in Cumming. An area of 3 acres (12,000 m2) previously occupied by GNAL was restricted following 1978 testing which found residual nuclear radiation from the experiments performed there. Subsequent studies in 1991 and 1997 found radiation levels to be at or slightly above normal background radiation levels. The property also encompasses Amicalola Creek, which various groups are lobbying to be designated as a scenic river, and which flows over Amicalola Falls within Amicalola Falls State Park.
Brian,

There is a similar area here in PA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quehanna_Wild_Area
Quehanna Wild Area is a wildlife area within parts of Cameron, Clearfield, and Elk counties in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania; with a total area of 48,186 acres (75 sq mi; 195 km2), it covers parts of Elk and Moshannon State Forests. Founded in the 1950s as a nuclear research center, Quehanna has a conflicting legacy of radioactive and toxic waste contamination, while also being the largest state forest wild area in Pennsylvania, with herds of native elk.

n 1955 the Curtiss-Wright Corporation bought 80 square miles (210 km2) of state forest for a research and manufacturing facility to focus on developing nuclear-powered jet engines. They named their facility Quehanna for the nearby West Branch Susquehanna River, itself named for the Susquehannocks. Curtiss-Wright left in 1960, after which a succession of tenants further contaminated the nuclear reactor facility and its hot cells with radioactive isotopes, including strontium-90 and cobalt-60. The manufacture of radiation-treated hardwood flooring continued until 2002.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Will Blozan
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Re: Dawson Forest

Post by Will Blozan » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:25 pm

Brian,

In 2009 I treated over 13,00o trees in adjacent Big Canoe private holdings. HWA was extremely light and hard to find so it is just getting started in the area. I hope (but doubt) Dawson Forest has an HWA management plan. I was told about some large hemlocks near Amicolola Falls and adjcent tributaries but have never been there. That area should be a high priority for an ENTS visit.

Will

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bbeduhn
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Re: Dawson Forest, GA

Post by bbeduhn » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:20 am

Thanks Ed and Will. I didn't have time to stop by Amicalola Falls, though I wanted to. Dawson would be easliy treated since they don't have large stands, at least I didn't come across any. I wasn't impressed with their clear cutting. They thinned out a shortleaf pine forest so there may be some experimental foresting going on. Oaks were quickly sprouting up in that shortleaf forest.

It's interesting that there is also a site in PA, which hosted nuclear aircrafe testing. Dawson also saw radiated lumber for a while. I wouldn't want a house with wood treated with radiation.

I took quick inventory of hemlocks along the route toward North Carolina. They looked well in the towns in the foothills but when I reached the mountains, they looked a bit scraggly, very much alive but not thriving. The HWA is on its way south.
Brian

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