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Author Topic: The Elusive Virgin Tract  (Read 2890 times)

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Offline mike_belben

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The Elusive Virgin Tract
« on: August 02, 2021, 09:22:27 AM »
Yesterday we went to my wifes friends church about 25 minutes and maybe 100 or 200ft lower elevation than where i live.  After services we took all the kids to walk up to a big lookout trail in a forest the church owns which probably brought us back up to my normal 1800 or 2000ft above sea level. 

Fully closed canopy, no stumps. There are 2 man bearhug trees snapped off and slowly decaying, natural openings are the only ones and its obvious this has not been harvested in 200 years if ever. The floor is fully shaded, cool and moist. Cedars interspersed hardwoods which isnt too normal in my area where logging cycles have gone on prematurely for generations.


It was completely, completely different than any forest i have stood in around my area and though all the perimeter edge weeds were the same but the trees looked totally different, including the bark. I could hardly identify anything by the bark like id be able to in a logged woods easily.  I looked super hard for poison ivy among the mess of VA creeper because the friends wanted to be able to ID it.  There was none to be found, despite it being like the state plant of cutover TN.  

The hickory dominance was extreme, especially shagbark. red/white oak were very under represented - hardly any, i dont think i saw any of the usual gum.  Red maple i can usually find with my eyes closed but the few there looked totally foreign.  I think i even saw my first ash and a gigantic dead cottonwood maybe?  Many trees i just couldnt tell because the branches were 100ft up. 


It was really something.   True, a big part of me wanted to cut it down but im awful glad no one else has managed to yet.  I dont think my kids will live long enough to see cutover ground get that way again. When its gone its gone.   
Isaiah 63:10

Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2021, 10:54:07 AM »
I cruised and marked a hardwood stand in a river bottom here in Texas that was all hardwood, no softwoods of any nature.  100 foot to the first branches, no brush on the ground and complete shade.  We marked it for a hardwood flooring mill.  They never responded to the bid, so we took our fee and left, last I noticed it was still there, the owners have died but the heir is an "environmental"  type so I suspect it is still there, aging.

Some times it is good to have a failing sale.  That was a beautiful old east Texas bottom hardwood site, not many left.

Edit:  Just went to tax records and google earth, the tract now owned by a RET company and the timber is gone.  History.
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Offline HemlockKing

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2021, 11:05:33 AM »
 

 We have some old growth protected lands here in NS, they feel completely different to the typical ravenged  forest. Beautiful massive pines and oaks spruce etc, most people would never think NS could produce such landscape. My woodlot has been untouched for around 100 years at least. By the time Im ready to pass it on maybe it will be close to the old growth that resembles keiji national park. I will haunt whoever cuts down my timber after Im gone 
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2021, 12:01:18 PM »
Hmmm that looks familiar.



 

Another place that has old growth hemlock is sporting lake, it is between New France and Lake Rossignol, the island on the lake has trees over 6' diameter unfortunately I have not made it there but friends have gone and told me about it. It could be that they are now threatened by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, as it is in this end of the province now.

Offline HemlockKing

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2021, 12:04:33 PM »
Nice picture! Yes and my
Beloved hemlock! My favourite softwood. Being in a mature hemlock stand is amazing 
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Offline Wudman

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2021, 01:31:42 PM »
Hemlock here in Virginia is gone compliments of the wooly adelgid.  It is a shame.  I rode up through some of the National Park and George Washington National Forest about a year ago and it was all laying on the ground.  Quite heartbreaking.

Wud
You may tear down statues and burn buildings but you cant kill the spirit of patriots and when theyve had enough this madness will end.
Charlie Daniels
July 4, 2020 (2 days before his death)

Offline HemlockKing

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2021, 03:24:09 PM »
Yep we have it here too apparently. There is lots of hemlock but north or east of me 20 min, none on my land unfortunately except new I planted recently 
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Offline Don P

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2021, 10:33:29 PM »
There were 2 Carolina Hemlock's amongst the eastern Hemlock here. We noticed over the weekend the last one has succumbed to the adelgid. I'll take the virgin white pine beside it at the same time, its gotta be at least 80  ;D. It sure is easier to be an environmentalist if you don't do anything. I would prefer to see us on something closer to that rotation though.

Something I noticed when looking at the oldest map of this region was the upper piedmont  below me has a good amount of forest now. It was labelled "savannah" with a few scattered lone trees on the old map. The "virgin" forest was removed by humans and managed as an open grassland. We have presently let much of it revert to forest. If old enough I would consider it to be old growth or virgin, but our hand goes back a fair ways in time. That map made me realize its further than I think sometimes.
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Online Southside

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2021, 10:36:28 PM »
Don - does that map show this area?  If so do you have a link to it?  I was reading last night that over your way it was bare tundra 8,000 years ago and here was the edge of the mixed hardwood with spruce, fir, etc Richmond and north.  Even said we had moose and elk in this neck of the woods back then.
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Offline Don P

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2021, 10:46:31 PM »
I'll see if I can find it. Lt Wood's map rings a bell... I think.
Now I'm interested in what you were reading, got a link?
I think it is just west of Richmond was the earliest coal mine in the state but I guess that forest was well before 8,000 years ago.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

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Offline samandothers

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2021, 11:25:26 AM »
Thanks for the link.  That was an interesting read.  I noticed the mention of soapstone and it's use.  We used a large piece for a mantle in our home in Floyd area. I previously was being used as a step on a log cabin. 

Offline grabber green

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2021, 08:50:03 PM »
Mike ,if you haven't yet ,check out the Joyce Kilmer forest. It's in north carolina but it's not that far from us. 

Online Southside

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2021, 11:08:22 PM »
@Don P I am kinda feeling stood up....   :D
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Offline Tacotodd

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2021, 11:11:40 PM »
SS youre going to be hurting that tough old Marines feelings  :D
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Offline Machinebuilder

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2021, 06:06:40 AM »
Mike ,if you haven't yet ,check out the Joyce Kilmer forest. It's in north carolina but it's not that far from us.
I was going to suggest this.
I find it interesting that on a hot summer day you can go there and it is always much cooler.
My favorite way to get there is the Cherohala Skyway, the eastern end is only a couple miles from the parking lot.
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Offline Don P

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2021, 07:18:00 AM »
@Don P I am kinda feeling stood up....   :D
I've been looking, no joy yet  :P :D
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2021, 04:25:19 PM »
I had the opportunity to work on a town watershed lot. Was once the town water source. So it was never cut before. Red spruce like white pine, and the maple was 40" across and bigger, even some birdseye in it. Of course those were the dominant ones. The regen underneath was sugar maple and a lot of red spruce. No balsam fir regen, no beech. The only balsam fir was in the gullies with white spruce. She's cut now, not by me, I was doing single tree selection with a horse crew. But guy before and guy after pretty much cut whatever they came to. I arrived mid stream after the town had been harvesting for some time.

Bark on old hardwood is totally different looking.

I called Forestry Canada to come collect red spruce seed. They did, I know the fella that was in charge of the tree improvement work there.
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2021, 09:44:10 PM »
There was a virgin forest here when I was very young. It was cove timber, very tall, hemlock, r.o., w.o., chestnut and tulip. The tulip section was still there in my late teens and tulip tree is the largest tree in NYS. although w. pine can be as large. The owners of this land where well to do and never cut it but when they ran out of money and sold out it got cut and  devided as always happens. It was one of those places where timber would exceed the normal size. An old time sawmill man I learned from owned a wood lot that had a supply of tall 30" + oak, hemlock and w. pine. I always considered this to be early 2nd growth.  That got sold also when old Russ passed.  When you get in the real timber it is a beautiful thing.

Offline barbender

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Re: The Elusive Virgin Tract
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2021, 10:15:28 PM »
There are scattered tracts of old growth (250 year old +) Red and White pine up here. Probably the most well known is the Lost 40, and Itasca State Park (which is where the source of the Mississippi is). Both have pine in excess of 400 years old if I'm not mistaken.
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