Red Spruce on Chimney Top Mountain

The  view today from the summit of Chimney Top Mountain, High Hampton, Cashiers, North Carolina illustares  why the Blue Ridge Mountains got their name.
From the vantage of the summit you can see Whiteside Mountain which at one time was higher than Mount Everest.
The Blue Ridge Mnts. are the oldest mountains in the world, and the home of  some ancient plant cultivars.
One is the red spruce which came south during the last ice age. When the ice retreated the spruce needing a cold and moist climate to survive established colonies on the high ridges above 3500 feet elevation. 
Over time the red spruce population been been drastically diminished by harvest and fire.
Today the spruce are gone form many of its earlier sites.
We suspected that Chimney Top was a place where spruce once grew though there are none there now..
To support this theory we needed to find a red spruce growing on the mountain.
After years of looking we found a lone spruce tree which is pictured below. 
It is growing 50 feet off the main  trail which we had walked hundreds of times.

After finding the evidence that spruce had grown on this mountain we decided to reintroduce the red spruce  to the summit of Chimney Top.
Below Marcia is pictured sitting next to 7 of the more that 600 seedlings we have planted on Chimney Top.
We grew these plants from seed we collected from native spruce stands.
They spent 2 years in seed beds, 2 years in transplant beds, and have been on the mountain for 3 to four year, and are as tall as 4' and doing well.

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JOHN McCarley

PO Box 524
Cashiers, North Carolina 28717
United States


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