Was reading the 2010 U.S.F.S. proposed project list for NC and came across this little tidbit.
"The proposal is to fell dead and dying trees ( doesn't say so but it's BIG HEMLOCKS ) within the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Trail corridor that pose a safety risk to visitors. Methods of felling under consideration include cross-cut saws and/or explosives."
And/or Explosives!? Thus we see the end of the big hemlocks, as well as the small and medium I suppose. Can't have a giant hemlock falling on the nice tourists!
Going to be a lot of tree cutting ( exploding!) and trail blockage the next 5-10-20 years up and down the eastern seaboard. Of course I doubt there will be this sort of pre-emptive clearing on backcountry routes. Back in the woods you'll be on your own! Take care where you make camp!