Donaldson's Woods (IN)

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#1)  Donaldson's Woods (IN)

Postby Matt Markworth » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:37 pm

All,

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Donaldson’s Woods in Indiana. The interesting features are almost too many to count: sinkholes, caves, gorge, old trees, complex crowns, open understory, and a high % of white oaks compared to other forests I’ve visited. In Southwest Ohio I'd have to be in a ravine to find these heights, so the feature that surprised me the most is that with the exception of the walnuts and sycamores, all of these tall trees were on the gently rolling Karst topography and did not require deep ravines.

Rand visited this site in 2008 and put together a great site description and there were many replies that provide even more detail on the history/geology of the site. Here is the link: http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldtrips/indiana/donaldsons/donaldsons_woods.htm I’d also like to say thanks again to Rand for his explanation of Indiana LiDAR. The first tree I measured was the 155.9' tuliptree and I walked right up to it using GPS coordinates. I believe this may be the tallest known tree in Indiana. I was also very pleased to find 7 species over 130’.

The walnuts and sycamores are located in the gorge that contains the stream flowing out of Donaldson Cave, which is adjacent to Donaldson’s Woods. Spring Mill State Park and Mitchell Sinkhole Plain are also adjacent to the site. It's also important to note that with the exception of one cave that provides a guided tour, all of the other caves are closed because of white-nose syndrome that kills bats.

tuliptree:                   12'10"  x 155.9'
tuliptree:                   13'9.5" x 152.4'
hickory (unknown ID): 6'7.5"  x 138.2'
shagbark hickory:       7'8.5"  x 137.5'
shagbark hickory:       6'1"     x 124.5'
black walnut:              8'1"     x 137.4'
black walnut:                           134.8'
American sycamore:    8'6.5" x 134.2'
American sycamore:                133.7'
American sycamore:    9'2"    x 131.3'
northern red oak:        8'7"    x 132.5'
northern red oak:        13'4"  x 130'
white oak:                   8' .5" x 131.5'
white oak:                   12'6" x 127.6'

               
                       
typical scene.jpg
                       
typical scene
               
               


               
                       
DSCN2347 155.9 TT - small.jpg
                       
155.9' tuliptree
               
               


               
                       
DSCN2382 155.9 TT - small.jpg
                       
155.9' tuliptree
               
               


               
                       
DSCN2349 155.9 TT - small.jpg
                       
155.9' tuliptree
               
               


               
                       
138.2 hickory (unknown id) - small.jpg
                       
138.2' hickory (unknown ID)
               
               


               
                       
138.2 hickory bark (unknown id).jpg
                       
138.2' hickory bark (unknown ID)
               
               


               
                       
137.5 shagbark hickory - small.jpg
                       
137.5' shagbark hickory
               
               


               
                       
134.2 sycamore and 137.4 black walnut - small.jpg
                       
134.2' American sycamore and 137.4' black walnut
               
               


               
                       
127.6 white oak and 132.5 NRO - small.jpg
                       
127.6' white oak and 132.5' northern red oak
               
               


               
                       
131.5 white oak - small.jpg
                       
131.5' white oak
               
               


               
                       
Donaldson's Cave 1 - small.jpg
                       
Donaldson Cave
               
               


               
                       
Donaldson's Cave 2 - small.jpg
                       
Donaldson Cave
               
               


Matt

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#2)  Re: Donaldson's Woods (IN)

Postby dbhguru » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:17 pm

Matt

 You do us mighty proud. Thanks to the Ohio A-Team, the Mid-west is finally rising to take its rightful place in the scheme of things. You guys are just way cool.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest

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#3)  Re: Donaldson's Woods (IN)

Postby Larry Tucei » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:21 am

Matt- Nice finds.  It's amazing how the Tulip tree is usually the tallest species in any given location throughout the East, Southeast, and Midwest etc. I bet before the U.S. deforestation that 180-200' Tulip trees where to be found everywhere. Matt that Hickory looks like Shellbark. Larry

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#4)  Re: Donaldson's Woods (IN)

Postby bbeduhn » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:53 am

Matt,
I'd go with red on the hickory.  I assume it was somewhat upland.  Red isn't always shaggy.  It appears that in Ohio and Indiana it keeps tighter bark, judging from what I've seen from your posts.  That walnut is fantastic!  130'+ on both white oak and walnut is exceptional.
Brian

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#5)  Re: Donaldson's Woods (IN)

Postby Jess Riddle » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:55 pm

Mark,

Nice report.  Sounds like impressive forest, especially the walnut.

The hickory looks like red to me and the habitat sounds appropriate; I'd still want to see some fruits to be sure though.

Jess

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#6)  Re: Donaldson's Woods (IN)

Postby greenent22 » Tue May 13, 2014 12:11 am

Great stuff. Nice to see a bunch of pictures from there. I'd only seen a couple shots of it before in a book.
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#7)  Re: Donaldson's Woods (IN)

Postby Rand » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:18 pm

The old pioneer village in Spring Mile State Park has a couple of exceptional eastern red cedars:

               
                       
merged-2.JPG
                                       
               


From left to right in the image:
               
                       
cedarstats.png
                                               
cedarstats.png (12.93 KiB) Viewed 159 times
               
               


I talked to one of the employees there and they said the tallest cedar was the second tallest in the state, so I guess they just grow them bigger in Indiana, because they were far and away the biggest red cedars I've ever seen.  She also went on to say they probably date from the the early to mid 1800's when the village was active, making them in the 150 year old age range.  The restored buildings were placed in the original locations of that time period, so I guess they were yard trees at one point.

And finally the best image I got of the eclipse from a small town near the kentucky-tennessee border.  It doesn't do the real thing justice, but I did better than the people punting with their cell phones:

               
                       
eclipse.jpg
                                       
               


In real life the bright ring around the moon is far sharper and brighter, and the coronal wisps far better defined.  I guess the human eye has a far better bright to dark sensitivity than my camera.

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#8)  Re: Donaldson's Woods (IN)

Postby Matt Markworth » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:41 pm

Rand,

Wow, nice looking cedars, those are much more graceful/stately than what I typically see.

Great eclipse photo too! I wish I could have seen the totality.

Matt
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#9)  Re: Donaldson's Woods (IN)

Postby Rand » Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:28 am

I think I missed them the first time I was, there because they are behind a small building from the main path that goes by the grist mill.  They also have a young ~100' tall tuliptree growing just off frame to the right to detract from their apparent stature.

It’s also hard to describe the weird quality of the sunlight as totality approaches.  It's like all the colors shift to a weird, blue-ish silvery tint-like you are wearing oddly tinted sunglasses that ever so slowly darken.  You look up at the sun with the naked eye and it still looks about the same size (and too bright to look at) up to a few moments before totality—and then ‘poof’ everything goes almost black, and the sun turns into a black hole with a ring of fire and coronal fuzz around it.  Definitely the neatest looking thing in nature besides of lightening and Hawaii style volcanoes.

The next eclipse goes right through Indiana and NW Ohio in 2024.   April 8, 2024.  Myeah.... we're not seeing anything in Ohio that time of year.

               
                       
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#10)  Re: Donaldson's Woods (IN)

Postby Rand » Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:08 am

A random shot from inside Donaldson's Woods that turned out pretty well:
               
                       
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