back on the radar scope
20, 2004 08:06 PDT
I spent this past weekend in the
New York's Shawangunks and
Catskills - the first part of the weekend wondering if I was
get swept away as the remnants of Ivan went storming through.
eastern Catskills got 5 to 7 inches of rain, some places maybe
streams were all swollen and minor flooding was widespread, but
course nothing close to what happened in the Southeast. So, all
I'd say the region was lucky.
On Saturday afternoon, I had the privilege to
visit a private site
owned by a 90-year old gent name Rashkin. He has an 80-foot
on his property that has been the subject of numerous photo
opportunities. Rashkins property covers 228 acres and is located
Shawangunks. I went there to look for old growth and big trees
property, by his invitation through a third party.
Despite what Mr. Rashkin had been told,
I saw no old growth nor was
I able to find any conspicuously large trees. I saw a world of
and yellow birch, which has grown back from prior cutting.
woods are attractive and moderately species rich, but nothing
out of the
ordinary. However, the property has been written up numerous
nature magazines and has been the filming site for at least 3
Mr. Rashkin gave us a standing invitation to return. However, I
wait until the leaves fall so I can see the terrain better. The
is certainly aesthetic. The falls are partially visible from the
road and the lack of seclusion takes away from them. An old
runs close to the falls. In the era of steam, the accesibility
via the waterfall was made use of by steam engines. However, Mr.
has a second waterfall that isn't visible from the road. I
didn't get to
On the return trip, we passed through the
valley bottoms and there I
saw tall tuliptrees, sycamores, and cottonwoods. I got excited.
plenty of potential in the southeastern corner of New York's
region. For tree searching, it is literally virgin territory.
private woodlands that could have big trees and perhaps a little
On Sunday, I saw a world of old growth
in Platt Clove and around
Kaaterskill falls in the Catskill Preserve. Nothing I hadn't
before, but it was good to re-acquaint myself with that
area. The Catskills rise dramatically above West Saugarties, NY
summits of High Peak, Twin Peaks, and Indian Head. The elevation
is 2,500 to 3,000 feet and it occurs abruptly. The cloves on the
escarpment are extremely rugged and swaths of old growth are
saw eastern hemlock; black, yellow, and white birch; white pine;
basswood, red, sugar maple, and striped, red and chestnut oak,
sassafras, hop hornbeam, black cherry, beech, slippery elm, and
ash in the clove. Higher elevations pick up red spruce and
There are a few other species. In the lower elevations,
appear and a few tuliptrees. The cottonwoods are impressive.
There is no
shortage of big tree-tall tree possibilities.
The rock is all sedimentary - mostly slates
and sandstones. Ledges
with overhangs are common. Spectacular views overlooking the
River Valley are everywhere to be found. In some ways, the
forgotten mountains. Rip Van Winkle has not been the only one
All of us have.
Like the Berkshires of western MA, the forests
of the Catskills have
grown back and in spots with favorable growing condition, there
lurks a few sites with Rucker Indices of 120 or more. It's time
Catskills back on the radar scope
20, 2004 13:11 PDT
To add to the previous e-mail on the
Catskills, as a consequence of
the superb work of Dr. Michael Kudish, we know that the
at least 64,000 acres of first growth forest. I suspect the OG
will eventually reach 70,000 acres. But most of the OG is
located in the
upper elevations and is gnarled, stunted forest.
What is unclear is how much regrowth there is
in the 100-year age
range located in areas with favorable growing conditions. I
there are several thousands of acres of forest that needs to be
ENTS. We really need an ENTS representative in eastern New York,
to search the hollows and coves for trees that rival what grows
western Massachusetts. Based on what I saw this past weekend,
definitely grow there.