October 2011 update: Chris Atkins just found a 270' (on the nose) Western Hemlock in PCRSP
Circumference 238" | 6.16 ft. diameter dbh | 1/4 crown estimate 10 points | 520 AF points. This hemlock is about 7 points shy of being a triple national co-champion with 523 point & 527 point Western Hemlocks in the Olympic National Park.
Copyright 2011 - Mario D. Vaden . . . . . Discovery updated at the Dr. Earle conifers.org site.
Prairie Creek Redwoods SP
March 12, 2011 - 11:55 am
This find was on right on the heels of the previous World's Tallest Pine Discovery 2011
The weekend began March 11th, in Prairie Creek Redwoods at 4:30 am, experimenting with photography in the redwoods, using a lantern.
At 6am, I drove to Klamath for breakfast, where I learned about the Tsunami alert for the redwood coast. The Cafe served meals until 7 am and closed shop. 10 minutes later, police let me through the roadblock on Highway 101 because I was headed into the redwoods.
My exploring began with Brown Creek trail and included other trails: James Irvine, Rhododendron, Elk Prairie, Westridge, Prairie Creek, and several small wooded valleys.
On March 12th, along Drury Parkway, I parked under a redwood for protection from rain while putting on my boots. A few minutes later, researchers Steve Sillett & Marie Antoinne of Humboldt State University happened to drive by on their way to work in the redwoods. We exchanged greetings and went our ways.
About 11:50 am, I spotted a very tall Western Hemlock. The laser read 190 feet to the top. The surprise was the reading of 72 feet down to where the trunk vanished into huckleberry. That 262 feet alone was a new record.
After an hour of measuring solo, having reached the base, I came up with an estimate of 272 feet.
I returned and found Sillett and Antoinne: minutes before they left. They were just exiting the forest with backpacks, so timing couldn't have been better.
After describing the find, they agreed to check it out and confirm the species. We reached the location and the identification was confirmed as Western Hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla. Steve had an Impulse laser with him, and we were able to measure together.
The next day, March 13th, Michael Taylor arrived and we measured it one more time. The consensus after comparing the Sillett and Taylor measurements was 82.83 meters for total height. It is the first hemlock ever measured at over 80 meters tall.
I'd like to extend a big thank-you to Steve and Michael for lending their time and expertise for measuring and confirming the species identification. This hemlock will be called "Tsunami"
The hemlock image to the left is about 11 frames stitched together. The trunk is really almost straight as an arrow. But this offers a general idea of the canopy form. I will go back again this year for some better photographs.
Note: although 82.83 meters was the height measure concensus, likewise there was agreement that 82.83 meters was conservative.
Taylor's readings on the second day included the full extent of the trunk on the downhill side, for
83.43 meters | 273.73 feet. That with the use of a tripod. But for now, the conservative number was selected to represent an official height.
This hemlock discovery and the big wave event at Crescent City brought to mind something important about plant selection in urban areas: put the right plant in the right space. Basically, the wave that hit the redwood coast was not in itself a natural disaster. Buildings, docks and boats placed in an area known for big wave potential caused the problem potential.
Planting has some similarity. If certain species are planted in certain locations where they won't fit well, there is a 100% chance that problems or extra labor will come to pass. Proper plant placement means longer lasting results and reduced expenses.