Mohawk Trail State Forest - My Woodland Mecca Robert Leverett
July 16, 2009


    Today Monica and I returned to Mohawk Trail State Forest, our woodland Mecca, to check on several important trees. Of course, I had to remeasure the Jake Swamp white pine - tallest known tree in New England. Using 3 lasers, I finally settled on 169.3 feet. I may be over by a tenth of a foot, but I want to give Jake the benefit of the doubt. Jake is the tree flagship of New England.
    After measuring Jake, Monica and I went on to the Algonquin Grove and I confirmed two new 140s in the south end of the grove that didn't have any 140s a few years ago. However, it now has at least three and probably five or six. In the center of the grove, 140s and 150s are the rule with two 160s. Heights at the north end trail off into the 120s and 130s. The north end receives the brunt of the winds.
     While at the north end of the Algonquin grove, I happened to look down to a lower terrance and noticed a very tall-looking pine in an area of otherwise young trees that I've not heretofore bothered to measure. It is the north end of the area we identify as the Frog Pond Grove. The tree turned out to be 146.5 feet in height with a girth of a very modest 7.3 feet. The discovery opened my eyes to the super fast growth of the Frog Pond Pines. I will return to catalog all the 140s in the grove.
     The Frog Pond pine inspired me so I compiled a list of the tallest pine in each of the 15 named groves of Mohawk white pines. The named groves is the system for keeping track of what is where. I often can't get GPS coordinates under the tall canopy and have to resort to other schemes to oranize the lot of them. 
     The following table shows why Mohawk trail State Forest is such an extraordinary place. In the table for age class, M=mature, O=old growth, and Y=young. I consider young to be under 120 years. Mature is 120 to 174 years, and old is 175 years or older.
      Before presenting the table, I'll briefly mention the 5 attached images. They are all in MTSF. Two are of meadows. One shows the new Algonquin pine and two are in the Frog Pond Grove. The last image shows Monica with one of her named pines - the Sweetie Pie Pine. It is young tree and growing like a weed. I didn't measure it today, but it will be around 141.5 feet. It was 140.5 at the end of the last growing season. I now believe that the Frog Pond Pine Grove is the one to watch. All the trees fall into the young age class and are growing very fast. BTW, my definition of young in a white pine is at variance with what timber specialists would consider young. 

        Tallest tree in each grove in MTSF                            
        Grove   Tree    Height-Ft           Girth-Ft             DBH-IN   Age Class
        Trees of Peace  Jake Swamp      169.3   10.4      39.7 M      
         Elders  Saheda                          164.9   11.6    44.3     O
        Algonquin       Algonquin            161.2   8.9     34.0      M
        ENTS    Lee Frelich                   160.4   8.5     32.5      M
        Shunpike        Brant                   160.2   11.1    42.4      M
        Mast Pines      Forked Pine        155.9   9.0     34.4      M
        Pocumtuck       Will Blozan        153.3   7.3     27.9      Y
        Cherokee-Choctaw        Jani      152.0   11.0    42.0      M
        Trout Brook     Trout Brook       151.9   8.2     31.3      M
        Kershner        Bruce's Tree         150.2   9.3     35.5      M
        Frog Pond       Surprise              146.5   7.3     27.9      Y
        Headquarters    Nonni                144.4   9.7     37.1      O
        Cold River      Big Boy               143.5   9.4     35.9      M
        Indian Springs  Old Man            140.8   9.7     37.1      O
        Todd Mtn Northern Sentinel       137.1   10.6    40.5      M
        Average                152.8   9.5     36.2     

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