Oct 16 2012
On Saturday while hiking with KTA in the Quehanna Wild Area we encountered an area of low vegetation and waist-high stumps. The only trees were those growing on top of stumps like the one pictured above. These were not live sprouts from the old stumps. They were all different species.
The stumps were white pines, felled a hundred years ago. State Foresters wondered how old the trees were when cut so they studied stumps with intact rings and discovered that they were all the same age — 200 years old. Something had caused the area to regrow from scratch around 1700.
And they were all cut down at once at the turn of the last century. Loggers clear-cut the entire state, each tree felled by two men with a cross-cut saw. When they were done Pennsylvania looked like this (Tioga County, 1914):
It took a long time to recover from this damage. The clear-cuts were ravaged by fires and erosion. During the Great Depression some areas were replanted by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In other places the land is still challenged.
And so we have a few barren reminders of the time when Pennsylvania exploited trees.
(photo of a tree growing on a stump by Kate St. John, other photos from Wikimedia Commons — click on those photos to see their originals)