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Re: Bennett Beach Park, Evans NY

Yes that is the old Pine Lodge Property. The age of the hemlock is 350 years.I would not bother the owner ,it is a sore subject with them. About ten years age they were dragged into town court for wanting to build on the property.It was a big stink cause Bruce Kershner was it on it. There is some old growth on the youth camp next to Bennett Beach on the sand dunes going to Point Breeze.
by oldgrowth52
Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:44 am
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Cook Forest Photos

My wife and I took a short trip to Cook Forest on Saturday. Here a few of the better photos I got. The hemlock forest is difficult to photograph.

I think I took all of these along the Indian Trail. There were a lot of trees down on the trails and I saw a few bigger hemlocks down which was unfortunate. I heard that HWA had reached Cook Forest, but I did not see any evidence of their activity.
by jasonbaker
Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:35 pm
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Re: Bois D'Arc Wildlife Management Area

Thanks for all the positive feedback. It takes me a good bit of time and energy to put together a good post, so it’s really nice to know people are enjoying them.


I’ve actually been making up species for a few weeks now and waiting for someone to call me on it. Wait, did I say that out-loud? No. Just in writing. Well okay;)

The forests around here are fun, because there’s enough pattern that you know where to go see particular forest types but enough diversity that there are always a few surprises.


The bark on the osage orange was generally furrowed, often fairly deeply for the size of the trees, but wasn’t exceptional in structure relative to other species with furrowed bark. Here is the one bark photo I took, of a more or less random individual.


The oaks at this site actually weren’t post oak ( Quercus stellata ), but a similar species known as bottomland post oak or delta post oak ( Q. similis ). Bottomland post oak is, as the name implies, a tree of floodplains and poorly drained sites rather than the drought prone sites where typical post oak is most competitive. Bottomland post oak is also much less widely distributed being found primarily in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain and adjacent areas. The leaves are less cross-shaped than post oak, and I guess you could say the appearance is roughly in between post oak and overcup oak.

Mosquitoes and gnats were a constant annoyance, but they weren’t so bad that I needed a blood transfusion. While looking for a log to cross Bois D’Arc Creek, I saw a rather thick banded snake on the end of a log; I didn’t get close enough to see if it was a cottonmouth.

by Jess Riddle
Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:32 pm
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Re: Transgenic American Chestnut Lecture

"this majestic tree was devastated by the chestnut blight, caused by an exotic pathogen from Asia."

It was also, if not more, devastated by excessive cutting- when the blight started, the word went out to cut every chestnut because they were all going to die any way- which was a mistake, they should have left any that seemed resistent

by Joe
Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:31 am
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Costa Rica: Corcovado National Park

I Apologize for the delay in getting this posted, but I was distracted by High altitude oaks, the trip back to US and work.

In March I took a trip to Corcovado Park with my Friend Brian Schultz who teaches agriculture and ecology at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. We spent several days in two sections of the park, with a guide Martin parez, who was quite knowledgeable about the trees in the park. Just about everything you may read about the trees and wildlife in the park posted by tourists or travel companies is quite misleading. For some reason tourists believe that the area next to Serena Ranger Station is primary (old growth) forest and the area further north is "secondary forest". Quite the opposite is true, though by following certain trails you can access some primary forest from either section of the Park.

I will start out noting that the park is particularly valuable because it contains a good sized area that is genuine primary lowland forest, which is now quite rare throughout Central America. Such lowland forests were the first to go in both dry and wet areas. This is because they were easy to access and close to areas from which to ship out the logs and the products including bananas,Palm oil, and Pineapples grown on the cleared land. This one area for some reason was left by United Fruit, now known as Chiquita Brands, and other resource exporters, because it was a little more remote from a good harbor and other infrastructure I believe. Anyway, With the help of Martin, we did find some old growth forest and some superlative trees, though some of the best were not measured because of strict regulations about leaving the trails. Nevertheless, we did find and measure some spectacular trees including a new tall emergent tree, the Panama Tree. Not surprisingly it is the National tree of Panama. What follows are images of wildlife and trees of the park, but the number of images requires part 1 and 2 of this post. Here is part 1:














by Bart Bouricius
Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:35 pm
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Re: huge oaks in Virginia

tclikesbigtrees wrote:I cannot imagine having a tree like that in my front yard.

Geez, that tree -IS- the front yard.
by Rand
Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:12 pm
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Re: NTS Does It Again - New Colorado Height Champion

Might also be a reason to access climbing skills of TCI, if they "branch out" to rock climbing for the more serious walled canyons!
by Don
Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:02 pm
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The Protect Hermosa Tree


At the moment, I'm sitting on a south facing slope waiting for some clouds to pass by. Hopefully I can get a blue background for a photo of the top of the 178.8' Colorado blue spruce.

I'm naming it The Protect Hermosa Tree. Hermosa is the largest unprotected roadless area in Colorado and apparently the bill is stalled out in Congress. Maybe this recognition can help, even if just a little.

by Matt Markworth
Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:23 pm
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Re: Fuertes Bird Sanctuary


It sounds great. Hopefully, Elijah and I can arrange this outing in the late fall after the leaves are down. It is an extraordinary site, and Elijah and I barely scratched the surface July 6.

Tom Howard
by tomhoward
Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:05 am
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Jocassee Gorges, NC and SC

Last week on the Laurel Valley/Whitewater run/hike, I paid close attention to trees. One spot had impressed me in the past so I paid very close attention to it. White pines towered above lush, rhododendron covered ground. Tulips, sweetgum and red maples were common but the stars of the show were the white pines. Typically, other pines are present as well but it was virtually 100% white pine along Bearcamp Creek. I thought they'd easily reach 170' and perhaps 180' or more but my judgment was obviously a bit clouded from having spent 9 hours on the trail at that point. Even so, I believe the tallest pines in Jocassee Gorges are at bearcamp Creek.

In a small cove just a few hundred feet above Bearcamp, along a small tributary, I noticed some height in the trees. The result was very surprising. The trees along the Foothills Trail in this section are generally quite young with some patches of 100+ years but most are in the 40-80 year range. The Bearcamp pines appear to be 80-100 years. One log was dated at 90 years, although it had fallen and was cut a number of years ago so it's likely 100 years. The small cove appeared to be a bit younger, perhaps 70-80 years.

I started on the South Carolina side and found one stellar mountain silverbell, likely a SC state record at 115.5'. Hickories are common but most do not attain great height very often due to being too young. Along the Laurel Fork and in the Eastatoe Gorge, both bitternut and mockernut attain some serious height but not along the Jocassee as far as I know. Many small north-facing coves abound so treasures are out there, they're just very remote.

South Carolina

Halesia monticola mountain silverbell 115.5' possible SC record

North Carolina

Carya alba mockernut hickory 122.3'
Carya ovalis red hickory 103.7'
Carya cordiformis bitternut hick 116.7' 113.1'
Fagus grandifolia beech 126.4' 114.3'
Quercus alba white oak 125.9'
Liriodendron tulipifera tulip 143.6'
Pinus virginiana Virginia pine 106.9'
Tsuga canadensis hemlock 114.2'
Pinus strobus white pine 163.7' 155.2' 154.2' 152.7'

small cove

Liriodendron tulipifera 172.9' 153.8'
Acer rubrum red maple 130.4'
Robinia pseudoacacia blk locust 119.4'

That's just a small sampling from the small cove. Leaves made it difficult. Fortunately, a road runs just below the cove so it has easy access from below.

The measurements are summer measurements. The tops were visible but shrubbery around some of the bottoms was cause for guesstimates on some trees, most notably the white pines. I contend they're within 2 feet.

by bbeduhn
Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:00 pm
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Re: Piedra River Archuleta Co., Colorado

It's a grand vision of the future that the current events of Durango 2014 have inspired. Being a part of the preparations, I had an idea what it was going to be like. But no where near the actual event that transpired. Kudos go to Bob for putting it together and hosting it, and all those ENTS/WNTS/NTS-ers who attended and expended their energies clambering over the hills and dales that are the San Juans.
As to Bob's image of us in folding chairs, I'd add a cooler full of local craft brews, crying to be opened in the high thin air, condensation dripping down the side of the bottles (yes, good craft beers are showing up in cans!) and cans...a sight for sore eyes and parched throats.
by Don
Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:51 pm
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A Trip to Durango, CO


I went to Durango because of Bob Leverett’s warm invitation. Based on all the folks that travelled from far and wide to attend the conference, many others took him up on his warm invitation as well. I went to Durango to see the majestic San Juan Mountains. I went to Durango to meet other members of the Native Tree Society, and to see what I could learn from them, and to make new friends. I went to Durango to find tall trees. I stayed for 17 days.

Friday, Aug 1st

I got set up at the Hermosa Creek Campground in the San Juan National Forest. That first evening I took my first hike of many down the Hermosa Creek Trail. The ancient, gnarly ponderosa pine (144’ x 10’2.5”) residing in the first gulch along the trail was my first taste of how each of the ancient trees of Hermosa takes on a character of its own.

Saturday, Aug 2nd

Bob Leverett organized a meet up at Coal Bank Pass on Engineer Mountain to document Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir at high elevation. This was my first opportunity to meet the great Bob Van Pelt. With Will Blozan and Bob Leverett there as well, there was an unbelievable brain trust of tree knowledge on the mountain that day! Others from Durango were there as well. Bob Leverett showed us the impressive Engelmann spruce not far from the parking lot and then Will and I went down farther into the drainage. I went to the other side of the drainage and kept descending, while checking out the heights on the way down. The best heights I got down there were from 120’ to 131’, nothing close to the fine specimen that Bob showed us. The scene unfolded in front of me, Engelmann spruce giving way to an open mountain meadow with wildflowers, which gave way to majestic Twilight Peak in the background. The mountain’s power was also made evident by the wreckage of decades-old automobiles that had careened off the highway far above. Well, apparently I wasn’t keeping track of time and I had kept the party waiting up by the parking lot for a period of time. (Give this Midwesterner a taste of the mountains and he may get swept away a little bit:)) Luckily there was good cell phone coverage and I asked that they go ahead up the mountain and I would catch up.

The Engelmanns and the lush forest floor above 11,000’ were amazing – an environment I had never seen before. There was even a bonsai tree growing on a boulder that caught our attention. Will was ready to make some new discoveries and he headed off trail on the north facing slope. He soon called for us to join him and there stood a girthy 137.5’ Engelmann spruce, surpassing Bob’s previous record for height at that elevation. The tallest tree that I found near that elevation was a 133.5’ Engelmann. Will also found a tall subalpine fir measuring 118.5’, also above 11,000’ in elevation.

Later that evening I went mountain biking on the Colorado Trail. I probably over did it a bit on my first full day at high elevation and had some pretty severe leg cramps that night. But, luckily that was my only symptom of getting acclimated to the altitude.

Sunday, Aug 3rd

In the morning, I spotted NTS Member Chris from Nevada hitting the Hermosa Creek Trailhead and I let him know I’d catch up with him a little later on my mountain bike. After catching up, we continued hiking up the trail. As we approached Stony Gulch, we spotted the huge Larry Tucei Pine. This huge pine (the biggest one I would see on the entire trip) was a perfect opportunity to show Chris how to use the laser.

Crossing over Dutch Creek and rounding the corner, a towering ponderosa pine resides just a little way upslope. Chris has an eagle eye, as he instantly knew it was extremely tall. I pulled out the Trupulse 200 and Chris provided a target to the trunk. Measuring 162.3’ x 8’7”, it became the tallest known Pinus ponderosa subsp. Scopulorum across its range. I hiked upslope above the tree and found a small rock formation with water trickling from underneath. Chris noticed a cottonwood growing nearby. The tree will be known as the Rouw Ponderosa Pine. Mark has been measuring trees since 1973 - wow! I also learned the next day that Mark spotted the tree last year, but didn’t have time to do a full measurement, but he knew it was tall. When visiting family in Missouri, I hope to take a day trip up to Iowa and have Mark show me some of the big trees up there.

We walked down to Hermosa Creek, had lunch, and drank from Dutch Creek (thanks for the UV treatment Chris). We hiked back out and relaxed before the conference was set to start the next morning.

Monday, Aug 4th, Tuesday, Aug 5th

The Southwest Old Growth Conference was held on these two days. The presenters represented the very best of the best, and I think it will be long remembered as an excellent event. I absorbed a lot and gained an appreciation for the level of commitment that it takes for the attending scientists to make the contributions that they make. It really is their life’s work. I won’t even attempt to summarize any of their presentations. It was also a good reminder for me that as a citizen scientist, I should continue to focus on “micro” activities (like measuring a tree), and leave the “macro” analysis to the true experts. I think that the citizen scientist has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to collecting data points out in the field. Bob served as an excellent “Master of Ceremonies,” as the Durango Herald put it, and I appreciate all of his work in setting up a successful conference in which citizens of all levels of expertise were welcome and felt right at home.

Beyond the presentations, the other huge benefit is all the conversations during breaks, lunches, and dinners, and all the great people that you meet. This is the main reason that I highly encourage all NTS to attend conferences/rendezvous whenever possible. NTS folks and tree climbers are by far the most welcoming, fun to be around people that I have ever met. It was great seeing Peter and Patty again. Having the opportunity to hang out with BVP, with his great stories and his absolute encyclopedia of knowledge about trees was unforgettable. I enjoyed hearing Bart and Connie talk more about the forests in Central America. It was a privilege to see Will again and meet his family, and it’s always an honor to see Bob and Monica. It was great meeting Chris and I appreciate his companionship at the campground. Larry is a blast to be around, thanks for the good times Larry! Mark has a wealth of knowledge about the San Juans and it was great to be out in the field with him. Dave Stahle, Lee Frelich, and Don Bragg were also a pleasure to be around and I greatly enjoyed their presentations. It was really nice seeing Steve Colburn again too. All the folks I met at the Mountain Studies Institute were awesome and I greatly enjoyed Laurie Swisher’s presentation; it really helps to get their local perspective of the issues facing the forests out there. It was also a pleasure to be around outfitter Sandy Young and to get her local perspective. Leah Sloan from American Forests is super interesting to be around. I’m sure I’ve left some people out, but there were so many interesting people and so many memories that I have; my apologies to those that I missed.

Wednesday, Aug 6th

This was a great day of adventure. Outfitter Sandy Young took four of us (Will, Larry, Chris and me) out on horseback and Mark, Laurie Swisher, and Nikki made the trek on foot. Thanks to Bob for coordinating with Sandy to get this set up, and a special thanks to Sandy for her generosity and hospitality. Her horses were easy to ride (except maybe Curly, right Larry?!). Sandy was super cool and wanted us to get off horse and explore areas where we saw potential. This was Will’s one and only day in Hermosa and his eagle eye was our most significant advantage.

We took the horses off trail up Jones Creek a ways and measured some nice trees, but no records yet. Chris and I had measured some nice blue spruce in Stony Gulch a few days before and this gulch would be our next stop. Will, Larry, and Chris took off down the gulch, while Mark and I used our lasers from up above. Stony Gulch really delivered. The first record of the day came with a 164’ blue spruce, the tallest know across its range at that point in time. Actually, there are two 164’ blue spruce in the gulch, one dead and one alive. Will commented that within two hours we would break the blue spruce record again, and he was right! The second record in Stony came with an impressive 157.5’ x 10’6” white fir, the tallest known in Colorado at the time.

Jumping back on the horses, we continued and veered onto the Dutch Creek Trail for a rendezvous with the 17’ circumference Doug fir. Riding along high above the north side of Dutch Creek, I heard Will say something about a double-topped blue spruce far in the distance, and that if it goes all the way to the creek bottom then it will be super tall. And, indeed it was! It should be a National Co-Champion. (This tree would end up having the most points of any blue spruce that NTS found during the Colorado trip. We found 2 or 3 blue spruce that will probably be National Co-Champions with the Utah tree, although the Utah tree doesn’t show a measurement within the last 10 years.) We helped Will with the measurements and all eight of us marveled at the magnificent spruce. After some additional looking down the creek, we got back on the horses and headed to the big Doug fir.

Wow, what an impressive Doug fir! Will commented that its size is in the same range as the largest eastern hemlocks. The most interesting thing to me is that the tree seems to be a complete anomaly. It’s on a bench, and doesn’t have a visible water supply, so it must be tapping a good source down below. It is substantially larger that any tree I would see on the trip; nothing else came close. I hope the day comes when one of us finds a comparable tree in the San Juans…it must be out there. Many photos later, the guys decided to walk the rest of Dutch Creek down to its intersection with the Hermosa Creek Trail, and the ladies were kind enough to bring the horses down the Dutch Creek Trail and meet up with us downstream. Sandy said we were like “kids in a candy store.”

Thursday, Aug 7th

By this time, most of the conference attendees already had to leave town, but we still had a strong NTS contingent for the next two days. Mark had some ideas on places to check out, and we expanded our measuring beyond Hermosa Creek. Mark, Larry, Chris, and I headed over to the Piedra River after getting some breakfast. Driving deep into the national forest, we spotted some nice looking trees in a place called Horse Creek. We couldn’t match the numbers from Hermosa, but we found some really nice Doug fir and blue spruce. We then proceeded to the Piedra River, and although it’s a beautiful, remote place, we didn’t spot any superlative trees. The trail was on the south facing slope, so we were on the drier side, and we didn’t measure anything exceptional from what we could see on the north facing slope. No records, but a day spent measuring with friends is never a bad day.

Friday, Aug 8th

The four of us set out again for another great journey. Mark told of us a great, remote destination and I drove us on the 1 ½ hour rocky ride past the Junction Creek Campground all the way to the western side of the Hermosa drainage. We set out along the Clear Creek Trail (which fades in and out a lot), lost a lot of elevation, and a couple hours later we dropped down a side creek as a way to get to Clear Creek. We started to find some really nice Engelmann spruce. The star of the show was a towering, rocket ship of an Engelmann measuring 152.5’ x 9’7”, a new Engelmann spruce height record for Colorado. It resides at an elevation of 8,927’. Many, many thanks to Chris and Larry for venturing down into the gulch to get CBH/spread, while Mark and I put the Trupulses to good use from up above. I’m sure all of us will always remember the name we assigned to this place – Bushwhack Gulch:) We travelled down Clear Creek until the agreed upon time to turn around arrived. Chris led the way back as we had to regain all of that lost elevation. Larry, remember what my Clif Bar wrapper said? Embrace the Climb!

Saturday, Aug 9th

This would be my first day of exploration without the welcome company of my NTS comrades. With Hermosa at my doorstep, I set out on mountain bike down the trail. I passed several side creeks and made the long descent down to Dutch Creek, and over to Hermosa Creek. Crossing on foot through the cold waters of the Hermosa Creek, I began to head up the Clear Creek Trail. Shortly thereafter, I spotted a pair of quaking aspens, one of which became the tallest known in CO at 115’. Heading farther up, a huge broken off blue spruce revealed a CBH of 13’2”. The soil was extremely rich and reminded me of a deep floodplain. If this huge blue spruce called this home, then there could be more! A little farther up, a big blue spruce stands guard over the trail and over the creek. With ample sunlight, some protection from wind, and a sweet spot in the floodplain, the Clear Creek Blue Spruce (155.5’ x 155” x 33.5’) found itself a great home.

Continuing on and travelling up a cove on the north facing side of Clear Creek, I didn’t see anything comparable to the giants down by the creek. I did see a lot of great places for camping though. Some hunting camps even provide a picnic table and water sources are plenty. I think that a backpacking trip may be the ideal way to survey the trees of Hermosa, as it would save a lot of time of running up and down the Hermosa Creek Trail each day.

Sunday, Aug 10th

I decided to utilize the same strategy as the day before and I travelled by mountain bike all the way up to South Fork, which is on the western side of Hermosa and is the next major tributary north of Clear Creek. I was getting beat up by all the rocks on the trail and it was at this time that I would have preferred to be on foot. The South Fork Trail conveniently provides a bridge across Hermosa Creek and I parked my bike there before ascending the trail. This is more of a major tributary compared to the other creeks I had seen and resembled more of a canyon. I couldn’t get direct access to the creek bottom and was forced to follow the trail along the cliff side. This area may hold some big trees, but I was too far up to get a good vantage point. Scenery was amazing though, and a long day in the mountains, even without measuring many trees, was still a great way to spend the day.

Monday, Aug 11th

After the long trek on Sunday, Monday brought a change of strategy. The side creek bottoms within closer distance would be the next area to check out. I descended off trail, down the creek bottom of Jones Creek. A lot of debris collects in the bottom of these gulches. I unearthed an old horse saddle with a lot of cool detail on it. It was in pieces, and I left it there to keep disintegrating. Farther down, a white fir claimed the record for the tallest known of its species outside of the Sierra Nevada at 162.4’. Based on all of Bob’s discoveries on Jones Creek, and the fact that those discoveries played a big role in setting off the chain of events that led to Hermosa being known as tall tree country, I named this Jones Creek find the Leverett White Fir.

Continuing down Jones Creek, the creek has a sheer drop off making Hermosa Creek rather inaccessible at this point. I crossed over high above Hermosa Creek to Swampy Creek. Swampy really earns its name. Surface water flows in a relatively wide area. This area is very thick with vegetation making measurement more difficult. I did get a towering blue spruce to 158’. A couple Doug firs litter the forest floor with DBH’s in the range of 4’. This area deserves more exploration.

Tuesday, Aug 12th

This day brought a “break” from tree measuring and I hopped in the car. Travelling north on 550, I crossed over Coal Bank Pass and headed on to Silverton. The Million Dollar Highway between Silverton and Ouray is spectacular. If you’re in the area, then this drive cannot be missed. Steep cliffs without guardrails line portions of the drive. I never knew mountains could take on such colors. Other towns dot the landscape between Ouray and Telluride, with Telluride being another gem. It seems a bit touristy, and I would probably avoid it on weekends, but the scenery is out of this world with mountains rising all around the town. I turned on to a gravel road and came in above the high elevation airport. A photographer would have a field day out here.

On the way back, it was a bit humorous watching people drive the mountain roads. I kept my distance from someone that was actually driving on the wrong side of a curvy road because they wanted to stay away from the cliff side. That was a disaster waiting to happen.

Wednesday, Aug 13th

This day brought me back to the Hermosa Creek Trail. Making the descent down Stony Gulch, I finally found a closer way to Hermosa Creek without encountering cliffs. Within five minutes of being at Hermosa Creek, I spotted a 162’ blue spruce across the creek. This tree was a welcome sign that the western side of the Hermosa drainage can support 160’+ trees. The forecasted rain rolled in and I headed back up. With an aversion to tent camping in the rain, and with steady rain forecasted for the next 24 hours, I took down the tent in the rain and drove out, saying my goodbyes to Hermosa for this trip.

My plan was to drive south or west and find somewhere dry. My first choice was to move to Mesa Verde, but it was raining there too. While I was out that way, I went ahead and checked out the Four Corners. It was amusing watching the tourists (I realize I was one too:)). I headed away from Colorado and then had a decision to make. To the left was New Mexico and to the right was Utah. Both had camping opportunities with a bit of drive. The Utah sky looked pretty dark, so New Mexico it was. I can’t get over how stark the landscapes are in the Ute territory in CO and the Navajo territory in NM. A tumbleweed actually crossed in front of my path. With rain seemingly all throughout the forested areas within my driving distance, and daylight running short, I headed back north through Shiprock and back into CO. I found a place to stay in Durango and stayed there for the next four nights. In a future trip, I hope to visit some of the forested areas of NM.

Thursday, Aug 14th

Well, Hermosa called me back and my motivation level seemed higher than ever. I set out in the rain down the second cattle guard and hiked/slid my way down. I wanted to see what this section of Hermosa Creek could produce, knowing that it would have been more accessible to logging in the past. After walking quite a ways up stream, I came to the conclusion that it probably had been logged and I came back up, still south of the campground, through two cliff faces. I’ve never been so appreciative of having vegetation (mostly Gambel oak) for footholds and handholds. It was time to revisit the strategy of checking out the lower reaches of the side creeks that drain into Hermosa Creek.

I’m glad I came back to Hermosa. Her beauty and awesome tree growing potential were on full display on this day. Sunshine prevailed in the afternoon and I would measure the tallest tree that I ever have. Navigating another drop off, I descended down a steep slope in to the recesses. A double-topped Colorado blue spruce revealed itself. Memories of Will’s find a week before flashed through my mind. If the tree extended to the very bottom, like Will’s did, then what a tree it would be! Continuing down the creek and approaching the trunk, with the top no longer visible, I shot the laser to the highest point that I could see and got over 170’. This would be Colorado’s tallest known tree of any species and the tallest known blue spruce across its range. I wrapped the tape at breast height for a good target for the Trupulse 200. Climbing the south facing slope provided a perfect view all the way to the bottom and all the way to the top. The height came in at 178.8’. I sat and admired the tree, got a few more shots to the tape and to the top to confirm the height and gave Bob a call. “Bob,” I said. “Are you sitting down?”

Friday, Aug 15th

In the morning, I checked out a creek near the campground without seeing a lot, so I headed back to the tall blue spruce to get better photos. Colorado’s tallest known tree will be called The Protect Hermosa Tree . Hermosa is the largest unprotected roadless area in Colorado and the bill seems to be stalled out in Congress. Maybe this recognition will help out some, even if just a little. This tree is way off trail down a pretty steep slope, and combined with the fact that most people wouldn’t know where to look, I don’t have a lot of concern that the tree will suffer from foot traffic if it gains some notoriety.

On the way to The Protect Hermosa Tree , I dropped down at a bit of a different angle and noticed a tall spire in the sky. Upon further investigation, I confirmed it to be a dying Douglas fir. This old man has had a good life though, I’d say. With an ample water supply and protection from the wind, he’s had a great home down in a seldom visited recess. The old man still stands at an impressive 169’, making him the tallest known Douglas fir in Colorado. After descending down to Hermosa Creek, I found another reminder of death in the valley. An impressive elk was laid out near the creek. Maybe a mountain lion had gotten him. As I went north along the creek, I became a little leery of walking under some of the shorter cliff faces and of what could be lurking above, and was reminded that even though I was letting people know my route for the day, I was still at the mercy of this wild place. An afternoon monsoon season thunderstorm threatened and I headed back out - this time truly saying goodbye to Hermosa.

Saturday, Aug 16th

This day brought a return to meeting new people and making new friends. I had met Aaron from Mountain Studies Institute at the conference and reached out to him after the conference to see if he or anyone else in the area would like to get out and measure some trees with lasers. Turns out, MSI was having a citizen science event on this day and Aaron invited me to demonstrate how to get various tree measurements with the Trupulse. They will be getting one of the grants from LTI. We carpooled over to the San Juan National Forest north of Pagosa Springs, and Aaron was kind enough to drive former intern Charlie and me over to the event. I’ve found the people of this area to be so friendly, another reason to spend more time out here in the future. Others from MSI and other locals joined us and we had a great day learning how to set up a transect. Part of their monitoring will be documenting a lot of data points both before and after thinning. But, this is no ordinary thinning. This is, what I believe Joe would say, is good forestry. A local entrepreneur has a contract to go in and take out a lot of the small stuff. He won’t touch a tree if it’s above a certain DBH. This should significantly reduce the risk of what a wildfire could do to the big trees and reduce the risk to the local watershed. Wood chips are being created with a plan to make electricity for the local community. This is primarily a ponderosa pine forest and this thinning would restore it to how it should look if it had never been fire suppressed – more of an open park-like appearance with high canopy ponderosa pines.

I used a nice ponderosa pine to get everyone some experience using the laser. Everyone took turns with the various equipment, and we measured height, height to live crown, average spread, and horizontal distance to the test tree. From there, we set up a 100 yard transect and documented a lot of things over that stretch including tree heights, height to live crown, DBH of trees to be taken and trees to be left, horizontal distances to the trees from the transect, how much dead wood was on the ground, what shrubs were present, how much vegetation was present for wildlife, etc. Everyone was in amazement at how much the laser sped up the process compared to the tangent method. They took to the laser right away and its superiority was made evident to all. I let others use the Trupulse 200 and wrote down the numbers they measured in the various quadrants. If I lived in the area, I could easily see myself doing some of these transects for them as part of their citizen science effort. Possibly the most beautiful forest type that I saw on the trip was old ponderosa pine forest with a lot of spacing in between, so it’s good to know that this is also the goal of some of the forest management that is taking place. I do hope to meet up with the MSI folks again, whether for more citizen science opportunities or for going out and showing them some of the impressive NTS finds.

Upon arriving back in Durango, I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to the serenity of the forest. I went up the Goulding Creek Trail and sat quietly above the beautiful Animas River Valley far below, enjoying one more moment in the unforgettable forests of the San Juans.

photos to follow

Matt Markworth
by Matt Markworth
Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:37 pm
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Cook Forest SP, PA short hike

On Wednesday August 20, 2014 I drove over to Cook Forest State Park, PA to meet fellow ENT Tom Howard and his brother Jack Howard. I had not met Tom before, but I loaned him a rangefinder and inclinometer several years ago so he could get numbers from central New York. We mat at the Park Office and drove over to the Log Cabin Inn. We did a quick tour there before heading up the Longfellow Trail. I gave them the standard talk I give to visitors telling them the history of the park and the chunk of remaining old growth forest and pointed out where the old growth began at the hemlock growing on the rock alongside of the trail.


We talked about the trees and Tom was enthusiastically measuring things with the rangefinder. We reached the top of the hill along the trail near where the tornado cut through the park in 1956. The trees from that encounter were salvage logged at the time, but there are still some limited traces of the old path of the tornado running up the valley.

Shortly after this we cut off the path and went cross-country to see the Seneca Pine. This is the largest volume tree in the park and was one climbed by Will Blozan at an ENTS Rendezvous several years ago.


From this point it was easier to head father up and meet the Rhododendron Trail than to back track. As we hiked I kept on the lookout for “wildlife.” Soon I was rewarded and came across a red eft. This is a salamander species that spends most of its life in the water. Here it was near the top of the hill among the duff on the forest floor. The Red Eft is the juvenile terrestrial phase of the Eastern Spotted Newt Tom said he had only ever seen one before and he had Jack get some photos. Soon we found another and another, maybe five or six all together.


Then we hit the Rhododendron Trail and headed over toward the Indian Trail, and thence back to the Longfellow trail. I am always impressed by the trees growing atop rocks and there are several nice examples along the Rhododendron Trail as it is near the top of the hill which is itself capped by a thick sandstone layer that produces the big boulders.


We followed the trail back to the Longfellow trail. There were many freshly downed trees, perhaps from windstorms over the last few weeks. We walked along the Longfellow and tom was randomly shooting up at the trees to get a feel for their height, but we did not make any real effort to actually measure any of them. These were the tallest eastern trees Tom had ever found. Soon we were in the vicinity of the Longfellow Pine. We stopped by what was left of the log bench and I had Jack pick out which of the tree he thought was the tallest. He picked the right one. I forbade Tom from playing because he had seen too many photos of the bark scar on the tree and could have easily picked it out once he knew he was in the right area.


From here we went down to the Red Eft Trail and turned back toward the parking area. I pointed out the small cucumber tree at the intersection of the trail. It is likely the offspring of the large cucumber tree that fell ten years ago. After a short distance we reached the fallen cucumber tree. A cookie cut from the tree at a height of about 18 feet had a ring count of 436 years amking it significantly older than the oldest cross-dated cucumber tree (from Virginia) which was a comparative youngster at 375 years.


Then on down the Red Eft Trail to Tom’s Run and up the Tom’s Run Trail. The light and mist made some wonderful scenes along the stream. My camera was not adjusted quite right, so most of the images did not come out well, but I got a few adequate shots.


Just before the reaching Picnic Shelter #2 along the run, past the hemlock with the big burl, there were two freshly fallen hemlocks across the path. They were fresh falls and the scent of hemlock was in the air.


We returned to the car and headed up to the fire tower. In the parking lot I pointed out the 40 foot tall flowering dogwood. We went to the fire tower, climbed to the top and looked around the panoramic view. We looked at the tree canopies. Next we went to Seneca Point to check out the view before leaving the area. Tom and Jack had to hit the road, so the last stop we made was to see the large devil’s club located behind the park office. We shook hands and went our separate ways. I hope Tom posts an account and some of the photos taken by Jack from this trip
Edward Frank
by edfrank
Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:10 pm
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Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale


Here is my report on Lily Dale Aug. 18. It was really great meeting Erik Danielsen and spending time measuring the great trees of this outstanding site.

On Mon. Aug. 18, 2014, a perfect summer day with warm sun, Jack Howard and I set out from North Syracuse, NY on our weeklong trip to old growth sites in southwestern NY and northwestern PA. Our first stop was the famous old growth grove called Leolyn Woods at Lily Dale, NY, the world center of Spiritualism. I visited Lily Dale for the first time June 29, 2003, with Robert Henry and Lou Sebesta. I had not back there since, and it was a site that left a deep impression on me, an extremely dense old growth forest of towering trees, especially Black Cherries, with a core of immensely tall ancient White Pines.

Jack and I arrived at Lily Dale, nearly 200 miles from North Syracuse, in mid afternoon. We parked by the entrance to Leolyn Woods, and we came upon big trees even before that. Lily Dale is a nice town with old Victorian style houses, streets lined by huge trees, especially Sugar Maples, Black Cherries. We met Erik Danielsen of NTS, who was waiting for us. We spent nearly three hours measuring the great trees of Leolyn Woods; this old growth forest covers only about 20 acres, but it seemed much larger, due to an extremely high density of towering ancient trees. The huge Black Cherries were especially impressive, forming tight groups of lofty old trees well over 100 ft. tall. There were also many huge Hemlocks, Sugar Maples, Beeches (most of them suffering from Beech Bark Disease). But the White Pines were nearly gone – the giant over 140-foot tall trees that awed us in 2003 had mostly died, and we could only find 2 large living White Pines in the center of the grove; both of these Pines appeared healthy.

Erik measured girths in meters with his metric “D” tape, and I used the laser rangefinder and clinometer that Ed Frank loaned me, and my scientific calculator to measure heights; Erik wrote down results in his notes, and so did I.

We took the easy trail to the huge Inspiration Stump, a preserved (partly by concrete) stump of a giant tree, a White Pine most likely that fell before 1898, where the Spiritualists hold services. It is a magical spot, peaceful with a spiritual feel among giant old hardwoods and Hemlocks.

Before we got to the Inspiration Stump, we measured a big trail right by the trail, a huge Cucumber Magnolia, that could be the NY State Champion.
The big Cucumber Magnolia, 3.2 meters cbh (10.5 ft. cbh):
Height 113.15 ft.

A huge Red Maple, which Erik measured at 3.2 meter cbh (10.5 ft. cbh), by Inspiration Stump between smaller Sugar Maple and smaller Cucumber Magnolia. Another huge Red Maple near Inspiration Stump, 2.98 meters cbh (9.8 ft. cbh), and at least 110 ft. tall with straight up shot of laser rangefinder.

We walked deep into the forest, came to a huge Red Oak, 3.44 meters cbh (11.3 ft. cbh), and over 114.5 ft. tall from straight up shot.

Black Cherry with leaning trunk (2.62 meters cbh, 8.6 ft. cbh) near this Red Oak:
Height 111.6 ft.

Rather slender (2.36 meters cbh, 7.8 ft. cbh) Black Cherry to right of old Black Cherry, too close to base to get basal shot:
H1 115.2 ft.+

Another Black Cherry (3.06 meters cbh, 10 ft. cbh) near above, straight up shot 114.5 ft. + tall

Another Black Cherry (2.63 meters cbh, 8.6 ft. cbh), height 117+ ft., too close to base to get basal shot

These are the most awesome Black Cherries I’ve ever seen, with gnarled lofty glowing sunlit crowns composed of shiny silvery shimmering leaves.

Everywhere were many big healthy Hemlocks; we saw a huge Beech tree, prematurely turning bronze due to Beech Bark Disease. We saw a big Black Cherry, (which I measured at 39.4” dbh with my old “D” tape) with a huge burl, and then a big double-trunked Basswood. Throughout Leolyn Woods we saw lots of ancient treefall pit and mound topography. We saw a giant Hemlock (3.99 meters cbh, 13.1 ft. cbh) with a huge scar, and then a giant White Ash.

Yellow Birch 1.81 meters cbh (5.94 ft. cbh):
Height 90.9 ft. – tall for this species in NY

We came to the first of only 2 surviving White Pines, a giant tree possibly about 300 years old, and 3.82 meters cbh (12.532 ft. dbh):
Height 142 ft. – tallest tree at Lily Dale

Near this White Pine was the other surviving old White Pine, a more slender tree (3.18 meters cbh, 10.4 ft. cbh) that seemed even taller – I got a height of at least 135 ft. with a straight up shot. This tree is near the main trail that loops through the forest.

Red Maple, huge gnarly tree by trail (my measurement 37.2” dbh):
Height 118.5 ft. – one of the tallest Red Maples in NY State

We were near the giant Red Oak that so awed us in 2003, a gnarly, twisty old tree over 58” dbh in 2003, that was then the thickest forest-grown tree I had ever seen in the East. This tree was still healthy today, and I measured it to 58.3” dbh – it is still one of the largest diameter forest-grown trees I’ve ever seen in an eastern forest. This tree is extremely gnarly, mossy (moss up trunk well into canopy), and it could be one of the oldest Red Oaks in the world, possibly over 300 years old. This is my best attempt to measure this great tree’s complex crown:
Height 99.5 + ft. – not the top, tree is taller than this

Near the great Red Oak, was an old gnarly Black Cherry 41.2” dbh, with a rugged curving trunk. The even larger 44.5” dbh Black Cherry (the largest I’ve ever seen) that Robert Henry and I measured in 2003 (for dbh only), seems to be gone.

In the same area, we found a huge shaggy, gnarled, tall, sinuous single-trunked Red Maple 39” dbh. The canopy was too dense to get a height measurement.

Near the end of the trail, we saw 2 younger broad-crowned big Red Oaks across a small clearing. The first Red Oak (3.58 meters cbh, 11.75 ft. cbh):
Height 110.43 ft.

Erik measured the other Red Oak (3.04 meters cbh, 10 ft. cbh) to a height of 110.4 ft.

We visited the old Pet Cemetery, in search of the huge White Pines that stood there in 2003; all the big White Pines were gone, except for the snag of a very tall recently dead White Pine. We heard and saw a Pileated Woodpecker tapping on a dead branch of the White Pine snag. There were many big healthy Hemlocks.

This was an extraordinary outing, to this beautiful diverse old growth forest. Big trees include Hemlock (most abundant), Black Cherry (best site I’ve ever been to for this species, awesome groups of towering Black Cherries that could be the tallest in NY, with 130 ft. heights (as measured by Bob Leverett in 2001), but we couldn’t get heights of 120 ft. in the dense leafy canopy in 2014), Red Maple (best I’ve seen in NY State), Sugar Maple, White Ash, Beech, Basswood, Cucumber Magnolia, Yellow Birch, only 2 White Pines, and the site is said to have at least one big Tuliptree, but we didn’t see it. The soil at Lily Dale is rich, filled with nutrients.

It was early evening, and we had to get to our motel in Falconer, NY (just east of Jamestown) so we said “good by” to Erik.

Here are some of the pictures Jack took.

Tom Howard
by tomhoward
Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:24 am
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Grimsby School Grove Aug. 22, 2014


After leaving Pennsylvania and the great White Pines of Cook Forest and Hearts Content, Jack Howard and I reached Grimsby, ON in the evening of Aug. 22, and we surveyed a small open area of tall White Pine near a school. This is not a forest but an open collection of trees. I often take the train to and from Grimsby on my way to and from Toronto to visit my brother. These White Pines on the lowland near Lake Ontario in Grimsby are the most prominent trees I see on the entire trip.

Bruce Kershner called the site the Grimsby School Grove in his Niagara Peninsula Report, and he claimed that is the most important White Pine site on the Niagara Peninsula. This is possibly a reasonable claim, but his description of the site is not entirely accurate. Bruce describes a 55.4” dbh giant White Pine at the center of the grove – we found no White Pine of that size, and his claim of a 350 year age for the Pine is also erroneous. He claims that the other White Pines around it are 100 years old – as will be seen, they are older than that. He also writes about a 36” dbh Red Oak – there is no Red Oak of that size on the site, but there is a high stump of what looks like an enormous Cottonwood. There are a few large Black Cherries, but none as large as the 48” dbh giant Bruce writes about.

I was surprised to find that the grove has a sign calling it a “Grand Old White Oak Tree Stand.” – the grove has been preserved by the Grimsby Park Commission. The giant tree in the center of the grove is actually a White Oak, as claimed on the sign. The great White Oak, which the sign says, dates from 1700-1750, is still standing, and it is one of the biggest, most ancient White Oaks I’ve ever seen; I measured it at 58” dbh; most of its crown is lying on the ground, but it is still alive, lifting a few extremely gnarled branches to a height of about 80 ft. Ironically, in the summary table at the beginning of his report, Bruce correctly calls this biggest tree a White Oak.

Trees seen in Grimsby School Grove - White Pine, White Oak, Red Oak, Red Maple, Black Cherry, Black Locust, Butternut (just outside grove area). It is a beautiful site with these tall (for the region) White Pines lifting rugged windswept crowns into the golden evening sunlight.

Several White Pines have fallen in recent storms, and the biggest Pine is gone. I counted 215 rings on a 15” radius stump of an uprooted White Pine. This was the biggest Pine by far. I counted 133 rings on a 9” intact radius (center hollow) stump of another fallen White Pine. I counted 120 rings on the 10” radius stump of another fallen White Pine. The surviving White Pines are easily 130-150 or more years old, much older than Bruce’s claims for them. There are 10 White Pines still standing.

I measured the following heights:

White Pine: 97.2 ft.

White Pine about 2 ft. dbh: 106.2 ft. – tallest tree measured on site

White Pine 27” dbh: 103.2 ft.

White Pine in group of 4 White Pines west southwest of big old White Oak: 101 ft.

After dinner in Grimsby, we continued to Toronto.

Here are some pictures Jack took.

Tom Howard
by tomhoward
Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:05 pm
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Re: Groot

Marvelcomicus pseudosapiens?
by Rand
Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:22 pm
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Re: Snowball Mtn. Trail

I trekked a little further on The Snowball Mountain Trail, enough to find the largest girth yellow birch I've ever seen. It is at least a double and was likely a triple. I did not have my tape with me so several pictures are all that there is to show its size. I believe it tops 16' cbh but more like 12-13' on the largest trunk, still impressive!

The Mountains to Sea Trail traverses the other side of Snowball Mountain, from 4600' to 4950', just a bit lower than the adjacent Craggy Flats section
This section has an incredible amount of diversity at a high altitude. Some species aren't supposed to inhabit forest at this altitude. Cucumber and shagbark hickory supposedly don't live above 4000' but they do here. Tulip grows at about 4800' to a diameter of nearly two feet. Sugar maple and red oak are the largest. They appear to be quite old (250+). The cherries were clearly the tallsest with many at about 100'. I didn't do any measuring as I was running, hiking and doing treecon. A quick list of species that I noticed from the trail:

red oak
black oak
white oak
red maple
sugar maple
mountain maple
striped maple
black locust
red hickory
shagbark hickory
Biltmore ash (odd looking bark)
mountain ash
white pine
red spruce
yellow birch
yellow buckeye
mtn holly (winterberry)
hawthorn (dotted?)
catawba rhododendron yellow birch 1.JPG yellow birch 2.JPG
by bbeduhn
Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:00 pm
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Re: Trees without any data

Found a staghorn sumac today. The thing that impressed me so much on this individual was the canopy. This one is located in Stevens Point, Wi. The other two, both smooth sumac, are both in Medina, MN.

Staghorn Sumac
Circumference at 4.5 ft: 30 inches
Average Canopy: 31.5 ft
Maximum Canopy: 34 ft
Height (Measured with measuring pole): 26.5 ft

So, looking at this picture, every sumac leaf you see is this one tree. The canopy is enormous. I thought it was a grove of a bunch of sumac until I followed them down to the source where they all branch at about 4 ft 8 inches above the base.
by Climbatree813
Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:57 pm
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Re: An exceptional unexceptional black birch

Failure to communicate

The problem lies in the terminology, intention, and perception of the heights of trees. If you say black birch grows to 107 feet tall, people will go out to a typical location and look for black birch trees that are a hundred or one-hundred and seven feet tall, when instead they will find it to be occupied by black birch trees that are much shorter. Yes it is know to reach 107 feet tall, but at only one location throughout its entire range and in just one tree. Should the description of the height of the species be defined by the existence of a single specimen? It depends on your purpose for describing the height of the tree.

I do not believe the purpose of the description at Virginia Tech is to list the maximum know height for the species, but to provide a height to which the species commonly grows. Essentially this same response was given with regard to the comment about tree heights in Colorado by Jess Riddle. They are talking about average heights or typical heights, while you are talking maximum know heights.

Would it be satisfactory to say for example, "Black birch commonly reaches heights of 80-90 feet, with exceptional specimens recorded as tall as 107 feet?" This would seem to solve the dichotomy of providing both a common height for most sites and also a maximum height for the species. We can measure and provide the maximum height values for many of the common species. The question of what is a common or typical height is more subjective, but it would be at some lower value for all species than the maximum height.

A first step for working with Virginia Tech would be to add the phrase the exceptional specimens have recorded to have a height of xx and a girths up to yy, and designating their existing numbers as typical. The argument about what is typical would be the next hurdle to cross, but for the immediate future could be left as the numbers they currently list for each species.

Ed Frank
by edfrank
Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:53 pm
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American Forests - How large does the blue spruce grow?


Thanks so much to Bob for this wonderful write-up of the magnificent blue spruce we documented in Colorado last month. You must see blue spruce in their native range, they're spectacular.

Let's all get back to Colorado!

by Matt Markworth
Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:31 pm
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a pair of "tall" ones

I've located a couple of Bald Cypresses in Northeast Ohio in the 100 ft range. I don't know how significant that is or not. I got various inconsistent readings of 107 ft, 100 ft, and 96 ft depending on my location. Lidar indicates a hit of 106 ft. The Ohio height record is something like 95 ft in the Cincinnati area. I have no idea what the height record is for this latitude.( Ideally the tree should be verified by a qualified tree measurer.) In the meantime I look forward to keeping a watchful eye on the apparent vigorous growth of these remarkable trees with each passing season.
by sradivoy
Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:08 am
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Long Branch Park, Geddes Sept. 7, 2014


On this sunny warm Sunday afternoon, Elijah Whitcomb and I explored Long Branch Park past the north end of Onondaga Lake; this park is a northern extension of Onondaga Lake Park. We previously (Aug. 18, 2013, May 14, 2013) measured large old Oaks and taller younger Tuliptrees in the main open area of the park. In Aug. 2014 Elijah explored some of the wooded areas in the back of Long Branch and found some very tall trees there. On Sept. 7 Elijah and I examined these wooded areas. This is a very beautiful old hardwood forest dominated by tall Red Oak and Tuliptree; the oldest of these trees seem to be about 150-180 or even more years old, and old growth characteristics are developing, with some pit and mound topography, lots of coarse woody debris, several snags, tall trees with ragged crowns, balding bark, sinuous trunks. This is the tallest forest we’ve seen in northern Onondaga County, taller even than the much older old growth Liverpool School Maple Grove. We could not get any age data from this Long Branch forest, but the signs of trees over 150 years old are abundant. I think that this is a secondary old growth stand, with the original forest that was there possibly cut about 200 years ago. The Long Branch forest was locally famous over 100 years ago, and was the site of one of the largest amusement parks near Onondaga Lake. The park was named for the “long branches” of the large Chestnut trees; a tornado on Sept. 15, 1912, destroyed much of the park and many of the trees, as well as killing 2 people, and destroying a trolley station. The tornado does not seem to have affected the dense forest Elijah and I explored. The forest type was originally Oak-Chestnut-Tuliptree, and many of the Oaks in the open area of the park are survivors of the 1912 tornado. Thanks to the Chestnut Blight, all the big Chestnuts are gone, but Elijah measured a 59.5 ft. Chestnut deep in the woods in Aug. 2012; this is the tallest Chestnut we know of in central NY, and it still looks healthy.

Trees seen in the Long Branch forest:

Dominant – Red Oak, Tuliptree

Associate – Black Cherry, Basswood, Red Maple, Sugar Maple (small), Norway Maple (small), Beech (small), Witch Hazel, Bitternut Hickory, at least one other Hickory (more below – we thought at first that it was Mockernut Hickory, but it is almost certainly Pignut Hickory). There were no conifers in this section. The Red Oak, Tuliptree, Black Cherry, Hickory are among the tallest in central NY, impressively close together rising high into the bright sky.

We entered the first of 2 tall areas by going off trail near an impressive 5-trunked Basswood that in Aug. Elijah measured to over 100 ft. tall. This section contains the tallest Oak so far known in central NY. Elijah told me of this tree, a Red Oak that he measured to 125 ft. tall with a straight up shot of his laser rangefinder. This is 8 ft. taller than the previous record holding Oak, the 117.1 ft. Baum Red Oak in the Wizard of Oz Oak Grove in North Syracuse. It was really extraordinary to see this tall, sky piercing rather young, rather slender Red Oak, in the midst of other trees of similar height, including more large Red Oaks. This is my measurement of the tall Red Oak, the tallest Oak in central NY:
Height 124.8 ft.

Black Cherry, rather slender, with dead branches in crown, near tallest Red Oak:
Height 119.3 ft. – taller than any of the old growth Black Cherries measured in Lily Dale Aug. 18

Big double Red Oak, same area, very near 125 ft. Red Oak:
Height 116.9 ft.

In the same area, from where I measured the tallest Red Oak, we saw a tree that rose up like a compact tower with big compound leaves. This is the Mystery Hickory mentioned earlier in this report. These are the Hickory’s measurements. The tree is 6 ft. 1 in. cbh and:
Height 117 ft.

This tree stands right by the trail. This Hickory has short-stalked leaves with 5 big leaflets, and a few small nuts on the ground. The bark is rough, and has a wavy pattern that made me think it could be Mockernut Hickory; bark also is balding, with white flecks and some red tints. Further research after I got home indicated that this could not be a Mockernut, as Mockernut has more leaflets. This is almost certainly a Pignut Hickory, as Pignut is the only Hickory in this area with 5 leaflets. At 117 ft. tall, this is the tallest accurately measured Pignut Hickory that I know of in upstate NY (the NY record is 129 ft. at the FDR Estate in Hyde Park downstate measured in 2004).

In the same area, I got a straight up shot of 119+ ft. on a Tuliptree, near a smaller Hickory, that I think is another Pignut. We would find several more Hickories of this species.

The next area we went to was the part of the forest containing the 59.5 ft. Chestnut. These trees are on a low ridge, with the biggest tree a 10 ft. 8 in. cbh Tuliptree that is the tallest tree measured in northern Onondaga County; Elijah got a height of over 129 ft. with a straight up shot in Aug. This may be the tallest tree in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence lowland.

In the same area I measured a smaller (6 ft. 5 in. cbh) Tuliptree with a tall sinuous trunk (curving 4 times before reaching the canopy) and balding bark:
Height 123.5 ft.

Near this tree we saw the 59.5 ft. Chestnut.

Near an old bench we saw a fairly tall (possibly not much over 100 ft.) Basswood and behind the Basswood the following Tuliptree:
Height 121.2 ft.+ - top possibly not seen

In a small ravine nearby, Elijah found a White Oak snag, and 2 other snags that look like White Oak – we did not see any living White Oaks in this part of the forest.

We took a trail back to the main open area of Long Branch Park, saw a tall (30 ft.+) Staghorn Sumach at the edge of a 2nd growth Oak forest.

We next measured the biggest tree at Long Branch, a huge open-grown Cottonwood (measured previously at 71” dbh) that stands by itself in a lower part of the park. We may have gotten the highest part of this tree’s vast crown:
Height 114.42 ft.

We left Long Branch and next went to the Boat Launch Pine Grove at Selkirk Shores State Park in Oswego County, which is the subject of the next report.

Tom Howard
by tomhoward
Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:39 pm
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Selkirk Shores State Park Pine Grove Sept. 7, 2014


On this beautiful sunny warm day (Sun. Sept. 7, 2014), Elijah Whitcomb of NTS and I explored Selkirk’s Boat Launch Pine Grove. We went there after exploring the old Red Oak-Tuliptree forest at Long Branch Park in Geddes in Onondaga County. This beautiful Pine Grove, the best stand of White Pine in central NY (the only really good White Pine stand in central NY), is on an inlet of the mouth of the Salmon River at the northern end of Selkirk Shores State Park. We did not see Lake Ontario, which was not far away. The site was fairly busy with people taking boats in and out of the Salmon River inlet. Yet this was a remarkably peaceful place, thanks to the beauty of the tall golden-lit White Pines. The air was very fresh, and fragrant like the much larger White Pine forests in Maine. This White Pine Grove is the tallest known forest on the Lake Ontario shore in both USA and Canada. The canopy is almost pure White Pine; the White Pines have rough bark, but not nearly as deeply furrowed as the bark of the much older old growth White Pines of Cook Forest and Hearts Content. The Selkirk White Pines are about 150-180 years old, ages estimated from previous ring counts. This was Elijah’s first visit to the Selkirk Pine Grove. We spent over 2 hours in the golden sunny late afternoon in this beautiful place, with the tall peaceful Pines, views of the inlet, boats, birds (Duck in water), cottages on other shores, stunted Red Oaks along shores. Red Oak is next to White Pine in abundance at this site. All hardwoods are lower and younger than the White Pines. Golden sunlight rippled beautifully on White Pine trunks, hardwood leaves. We saw 2 Deer in and near the Pine Grove.

Trees at Pine Grove: Dominant: White Pine
Associate: Red Oak, Red maple, Black Cherry, Striped Maple (one of biggest Elijah saw – 20-25 ft. tall), Yellow Birch, Cottonwood (west side of Grove), small Hemlock, small Blue Spruce, small Catalpa

White Pine reproduction is plentiful in open areas.

Trees measured (heights in feet, measured by Elijah and me):

White Pine Height 105 (above eye level, no basal shot0
White Pine Height 115.9
White Pine Height 115.7
White Pine Height 108.5 ft. (small, straight, younger than most)

Black Cherry near road, slender tree, one of taller hardwoods:
Height 96

Rather slender White Pine:
Height 108.5

Elijah measured one of the largest White Pines at 8 ft. 6 in. cbh.

We tried to re-measure the tall White Pine by the road to cabins that I measured to 122.7 ft. on Apr. 20. We were not able to repeat this measurement, because of the densely leafed out understory and this Pine’s wide crown; it was hard to tell which twig was highest. I saw a Red Squirrel on this Pine that I believe is the tallest.

Rather slender White Pine with woodpecker holes (next to the tree that I believe is the tallest):
Height 108.6

White Pine with double crown near just above:
Height 113.3

White Pine by ticket booth, finely formed tree with young White Pine next to it – I couldn't get a good basal shot so this is height above eye level only:
Height 103.53 (total height est. 110 ft.)

We saw a flock of Vultures circling high over and behind the tall golden-lit White Pines of the Grove.

White Pine by cabins at edge of Grove:
Height 110.6

Near the Pine Grove is a nice group of low twisted Red Oaks (with a few White Oaks near them), on a point that sticks out into the Salmon River inlet. They are not old, but picturesque, artistic trees with lichen-covered trunks, like many of the rugged, gnarled Red Oaks by the coast of Maine. There is an even more rugged, stunted Red Maple with bark half off at the farthest point.

Tom Howard
by tomhoward
Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:45 pm
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Re: An exceptional unexceptional black birch

Excellent post, Bob. I really like the photographs. We as a group are doing a better job of measuring the very short trees in the shrub to small tree range, but we are still missing out on measuring some of the medium sized trees. Did you notice the bimodal shape of Jess's tree height distribution? It shows a bump at shorter heights and a bump at tall trees but a dip in medium sized trees. Black Birch is well within the tall tree bump, but there likely are trees that reach into the medium sized range that we simply aren't measuring frequently enough. We really need to publish a list of what the maximum heights are that we have for all of the trees we have in our database. Minimal information - common name- scientific name - maximum height measured - state. This would not affect any possible scientific paper publication, but would give people something to go on when out measuring trees. I bet we could bump up a dozen or more tree species just because members didn't realize the current values were so low. What do you say?

by edfrank
Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:38 pm
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

The salmon are already back, for the first time in 102 years! ... -102-years
by PAwildernessadvocate
Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:43 am
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