Luke, another great video. Sorry about your Mother-in-law. You were over in my part of the world on this adventure. I live only 5 miles from those steps. The Iron mountain trail you saw use to be the Appalachian Trail prior to 1972 when they rerouted it across the high country and Grayson Highlands.
Sling shot trees have been coppiced. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppicing