Whiskey Hollow Preserve, Van Buren

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Whiskey Hollow Preserve, Van Buren

Post by ElijahW » Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:31 pm


Earlier today I finished up my survey of this unique small forested property owned and managed by the Central New York Land Trust https://cnylandtrust.org/. Whiskey Hollow, despite being just a twenty minute drive from my home, I'd never heard of until it came up in a conversation I had with Neil Pederson. Dr. Pederson mentioned something about the age of Chestnut Oaks in the Preserve, which of course piqued my interest (Chestnut Oak is naturally rare locally, at least north of the Finger Lakes area). I definitely found some Chestnut Oaks, along with lots of other impressive trees. Here's what I measured:

Red Maple Acer rubrum

121.3' x 7.77'

Sugar Maple Acer saccharum

125.3' x 7.39'
117.3' x 5.20'

Red Hickory Carya ovalis

130.3' x 5.80'

American Beech Fagus grandifolia

127.4' x 6.65'
120.0' x 7.01'

White Ash Fraxinus americana

129.2' x 6.89'
125.6' x 9.35'

Tuliptree Liriodendron tulipifera

136.6' x 8.84'
132.2' x 8.51'
120.3' x 5.58'

Eastern White Pine Pinus strobus

122.8' x 6.77'

Black Cherry Prunus serotina


White Oak Quercus alba

112.8' x 5.73'

Chestnut Oak Quercus montana

122.8' x 7.51'

Northern Red Oak Quercus rubra

120.0' x 9.28'

American Basswood Tilia americana

121.5' x 9.46'
117.0' x 7.49'

Eastern Hemlock Tsuga canadensis

126.8' x 7.11'

Rucker 10 Height Index: 126.4'

Whiskey Hollow's Rucker Index makes it the second-tallest forest in Onondaga County, behind the venerable Green Lakes State Park. This is pretty good for a 43 acre site (Green Lakes is nearly 2,000 acres). The general feel of Whiskey Hollow is an Appalachian forest, something one might commonly find in NY's Southern Tier or the hills of Pennsylvania. Chestnut, Northern Red, and White Oak grow on the flat land above the hollow, along with Tuliptrees and Bigtooth Aspen. Beech, Sugar and Red Maple, White Ash, and Hemlock grow in the steeper places, each filling their particular ecological niche. Interestingly, the two most common Hickories in our region, Bitternut and Shagbark, are either totally absent or sparsely represented; Red Hickories are numerous amongst the ridge-dwelling Chestnut Oaks. Someone more familiar with geology probably could explain better what exactly is going on here, but I'm content to acknowledge Whiskey Hollow as an unusual place with an unusual forest complexion.

The 127' Beech is now the tallest we've measured for the species in the state; it is one of many tall, beautiful Beeches on the slopes lining the hollow. The 122' Chestnut Oak is one of several of its species over 100' tall and appears to have some age. It may have been cored, but I don't know for sure.

Additional tree species observed but not measured:

Striped Maple Acer pensylvanicum
Yellow Birch Betula alleghaniensis
Bigtooth Aspen Populus grandidentata


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Erik Danielsen
Posts: 898
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Whiskey Hollow Preserve, Van Buren

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:13 am

That's a very impressive small site! Where they're present, hickory composition certainly does seem to be an interesting indicator of subtle differences in the abiotic conditions of a given forest's setting. Nice to hear about a site that still has a good Beech component too. Do they all seem pretty healthy there?

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