"If this has just occurred this year, it could well be that your tree suffered from some winter desiccation--drying out because it didn't have enough protection from winter winds. I can't be 100% sure, but I don't think your tree has a disease. I believe you should wait and see how things green up this spring. If there is ample water available (sounds like there should be from the creek below), then the tree should put out new buds, new needles.
I would check online for the VPI extension service/home horticulture division. Diane Relf was the agent there a few years back. She or her staff usually wrote if there were blights, etc. hitting any particular tree species. Try this link for a start:
Click on trees (toward the end of that first list). It's a good double-check on what I shared. I hope your tree leafs out again!"