Powley Rd., Goldmine Creek, Arietta

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ElijahW
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Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Powley Rd., Goldmine Creek, Arietta

Post by ElijahW » Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:11 pm

NTS,

I recently spent a few hours surveying some of the old growth portion of Powley Rd., a dirt and gravel seasonal route which links NY-10 in Piseco, NY, with NY-29A in Stratford, NY, as well as the trail to Goldmine Creek, which is accessed from Powley Rd. This post only covers the eastern (Hamilton County) section of the road, as the remaining section (Herkimer County) is currently closed coming from the east due to washouts and bridge damage. The trees I measured and photographed were contained in the greater Ferris Lake Wild Forest, through which Powley Rd. runs. Elevations along the road and trail varied from about 1700' to 1900'.

Powley Rd. is mentioned several times by Barbara McMartin in her wonderful book, The Great Forest of the Adirondacks, as an easily accessible example of the classic Northern Hardwood-Red Spruce forests that may be familiar to visitors to the central and southern Adirondack Park. Goldmine Creek is mentioned in Bob Leverett and Bruce Kershner's Sierra Club Guidebook (Hike #55).

I traveled Powley Rd. once a few years ago just to get a look at it, but this is my first actual measuring trip. Although tree heights aren't impressive, and larger-girthed specimens can be found elsewhere, this forest really is magical; I have to agree with Bob (I assume these are his words and not Bruce's) when he stated: "Stepping onto the Goldmine Creek Trail is like stepping back in time." The trees ooze age (if that's a possible thing). Judging from a partial ring count on a fallen Yellow Birch, I'm fairly confident that many of that species exceed 300 years old. Here are some additional ring counts:

Eastern Hemlock Tsuga canadensis:

173 rings at 36' above ground level (partial count; average diameter at cut: 15")

~150 rings at 10' above ground level (outer 4" unreadable; average diameter at cut: 22")

Red Spruce Picea rubens:

~90 rings at 27' above ground level (partial count)

Sugar Maple Acer saccharum:

~170 rings at ~20 above ground level

Some photos I took:
Goldmine Creek
Goldmine Creek
Largest Yellow Birch
Largest Yellow Birch
Largest Yellow Birch
Largest Yellow Birch
Largest Yellow Birch
Largest Yellow Birch
Yellow Birch from which I got a partial ring count
Yellow Birch from which I got a partial ring count
Yellow Birch from which I got a partial ring count
Yellow Birch from which I got a partial ring count
Finally, Measurements:

Balsam Fir Abies balsamea

100.6' x 4.79'

Red Maple Acer rubrum

91.7' x 6.63'

Sugar Maple Acer saccharum

96.5'

Yellow Birch Betula alleghaniensis

81.8' x 12.65'

White Ash Fraxinus americana

103.3' x 11.35'

Red Spruce Picea rubens

100.8' x 7.78'
96.3' x 7.05'

Black Cherry Prunus serotina

95.0' x 7.09'

Eastern Hemlock Tsuga canadensis

106.2' x 9.24'
10.88'

Rucker 5 Height Index: 101.5'
Rucker 5 Girth Index: 10.0'

Elijah

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