Galen WMA

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ElijahW
Posts: 884
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Galen WMA

Post by ElijahW » Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:26 pm

NTS,

Last month, while on a weekend drive through Wayne County, NY, I stumbled across a lovely piece of State land. On my OnX App, the ownership is listed as the NYS Thruway Authority (which controls the nearby Erie Canal), but the PDF map on the NY DEC's website shows the whole area as the Galen Wildlife Management Area, so that's how I will refer to it in this report.

I drove around most of the accessible property and found it unremarkable; mostly it consists of young, brushy forest mixed with some marsh and old field clearings. The small jewel I discovered is adjacent to a gravel road, complete with a convenient roadside parking area. My survey area probably isn't more than twenty acres or so. I've attached a Google Earth screen shot including the Galen WMA below:
Survey Area Circled Crudely in Red
Survey Area Circled Crudely in Red
Here's what I measured on this outing:

Freeman Maple Acer x freemanii

119.5' x 5.63'

Bitternut Hickory Carya cordiformis

114.3' (Double trunk)

Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica

116.8' x 4.92'

Swamp White Oak Quercus bicolor

69.1' x 2.53'

Bur Oak Quercus macrocarpa

120.3' x 5.95'

The overall height of this forest probably won't knock anybody's socks off, though it is respectable for the area. When the apparent age of these trees (likely well under 100 years old) is factored in, however, along with the species makeup (swamp and floodplain trees), the site becomes very interesting. Both Green Ash and Freeman Maple attain similar heights on Howland's Island (about 11 miles east, as the crow flies), but those trees have much larger girths and appear to be much older. The Bur Oak here is exceptional. I don't know what factors have contributed most to this tree's height, but it is growing in a fertile floodplain, in a spot with plenty of access to year-round water, with other tall trees.

Maybe rural Wayne County has more of these easily-overlooked spots. Maybe this is an anomaly. I'll surely be paying more attention in future drives through the area.

Elijah

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Erik Danielsen
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Galen WMA

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:10 pm

Thanks for sharing these measurements and congrats on the 120' Bur Oak. This site and its surroundings do sound like they have great potential. I wonder what's across the river in that area with the more mature-looking canopy with heterogenous texture? Similar areas in the Conewango Swamp WMA have some beautiful stands of trees, though more spread-out trunks and not appearing to be terribly tall and not quite getting into the upper brackets of girth either.

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

Re: Galen WMA

Post by ElijahW » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:52 pm

Erik,

You're welcome. The land across the river stood out to me, as well. Unfortunately for me, it appears to be all privately owned - that doesn't mean I won't be able to check it out eventually, but it's a no-go for now. I did shoot the laser across the water some, and the trees didn't seem any taller. My assumption is that it's an older forest with larger-girthed trees and a slightly different mix of species. You'd probably find some hickories (Bitternut & Shagbark), Sycamore, and Cottonwood, along with a lot of Freeman Maple, Swamp White Oak and Green Ash. This area is essentially rich bottomland forest, and the trees have an impressive growth rate.

Elijah

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