Old-growth happenings

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by Sue Harmon : Board Member

Cliff Shaw continues to ramble across his section of the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of new big trees and old-growth areas on the forest. His recent discoveries have prompted him to revise and update his Rambling Through Old-Growth Past and Present: A Personal Survey of Surviving Old-Growth on the Blue Ridge Ranger District, Chattahoochee National Forest book (available on Amazon). This revised edition has a new list with photos showing the thirteen largest tulip trees, and the seven largest white oaks, found on the forest to date, as well as information and photos about seven newly discovered old-growth areas.

Cliff Shaw admires the new Georgia state champion black cherry located in Green Creek Cove just off the Arkaquah Trail in the Brasstown Wilderness. The tree was first measured by Jess and Doug Riddle in 2005, then independently rediscovered by Cliff in 2020.

Another recent development regarding old-growth is the addition of the Chattahoochee River headwaters old-growth area in the Mark Trail Wilderness to the Old-Growth Forest Network. At Georgia ForestWatch we are excited about this recent action because this is the first area on the Chattahoochee National Forest to be added to this important network of protected old-growth areas. Cliff worked with Sarah Horsley from the Old-Growth Forest Network out of Atlanta to make this happen. Thanks Cliff and Sarah!

Cliff’s forest explorations have also resulted in a slew of new Georgia champion trees that were recently added to the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Champion Tree list (https://gatrees.org/learn-explore/ champion-trees/). Seven new champs were found and submitted by Cliff, and one was found and submitted by Jess Riddle and Cliff. All of these new record big trees in the chart below are located on the Chattahoochee National Forest.