Named for trees that have disappearedThe Youghiogheny River has cut a winding gorge through the Chestnut Ridge, the western-most uplift of the Appalachian Mountains. The tall ridges bordering the river are heavily forested but lack the tree species for which the ridge is names: the American Chestnut.
The American Chestnut was a large, dominant tree of our eastern forests. It succumbed to an Asian fungal pestilence called "chestnut blight." The blight was first observed in New York City in 1904, and it spread rapidly throughout the distribution of the tree. By the early 1950's, even the most remote stands of chestnuts had become infected. The fungus blocks nutrient transport in infected trees causing the above ground tissues to die. The roots, however, are not affected and are able to re-sprout. These newly sprouted stems can grow several ears but will eventually become infected by the fungus and die back to roots.
The chestnut and Laurel Ridges are at the western edge of the Allegheny Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The Youghiogheny River is older than these mountains and has been cutting through Chestnut Ridge and Laurel Ridge since they rose up 300 million years ago. This rugged topography was a formidable barrier to 18th century pioneers.
A healthy American Chestnut Tree. For more information, check out the American Chestnut Foundation at www.act.org [sic]. Photo: American Chestnut Foundation.
Virgin American Chestnut Trees, circa 1911. The American Chestnut grew to be a very large tree, up to 70 to 90 feet in height and, on average, three to four feet in diameter. Photo: Forest History Society.
Great Allegheny Passage. For more information: www.gaptrail.org
|Placed By||Southwestern PA Heritage Preservation Commission, Allegheny Trail Alliance, Regional Trail Corporation|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 1:54pm PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||17T E 619171 N 4431158|
|Decimal Degrees||40.02223333, -79.60346667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 40° 1.334', W 79° 36.208'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||40° 1' 20.04" N, 79° 36' 12.48" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 67 Great Allegheny Passage (North), Connellsville PA 15425, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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