Western NY & Southern Ontario ramble   djluth-@pennswoods.net
  Sep 07, 2006 14:22 PDT 

Fellow Ents,

On 5/2-3/06 I was privileged to take a two day whirl-wind trip of various old
growth/big trees sites in extreme Western New York and southern Ontario with
fellow old growth sleuths, Dr. Bruce Kershner and Gerry Horowitz. Sites we
visited included:

Niagara Glen - downstream from the famed 'Whirlpool' of Niagara Falls, Ontario
Swayze Falls - Shorthills Provincial Park, Ontario
Niagara on the Lake - extreme E end of Niagara River flowing into Lake Ontario
Long Point State Park - near Bemus Point, NY on Chautauqua Lake
Jamestown, NY - missed seeing possible big black cherry site at local park

At Niagara Glen, Bruce took me to the hidden 'Lord of the Rings Grove':
barbwire twisted mass of ancient N. white cedars growing on steep talus slope.
Absolutely incredible trees. I don't think I was able to stand up straight
unhindered the whole time we were in this stand. Bruce told me that along the
Niagara Escarpment, a researcher cored a dwarf form N. white cedar to just
under 1000 years. Says they couldn't even see rings under a disecting scope.
We even had some chinkapin oak on the way out of the gorge. Cool... never seen
OR measured chinkapin before.

Here are some quick stats:

Species         CBH   Height

chinkapin oak   7.1   72.6
chinkapin oak   8.1   79.4

E. hophornbeam 4.6   56.5

honey locust    1.7   47.1

N. white cedar 4.9   N/A (<30ft)

Swayze Falls was nice with an impressive black walnut stand. Stats follows:

Species         CBH   Height

black walnut    6.2   117.1+
black walnut    6.7   120.1+

bitternut hickory 4   111.1

We also measured a large white oak on the Niagara Escarpment just west of
Niagara on the Lake that Bruce named the 'Octopus Oak'. It definitely was no
slouch at 16.5ft CBH x 69.6ft high x 122.8ft avg crown spread for 298.3AF
points (43 12.714N x 79 3.671W). The 122.8ft crown spread was particularly

The highlight of the trip for me was our trip to Long Point State Park near
Bemus Point, NY on Chautauqua Lake the following day:


Gerry said there was a couple of "nice" cottonwoods just south of the Marina.
"Nice" was definitely an understatement. They were absolutely out of this
world for someone whose never seen a cottonwood over 13ft CBH. The cottonwoods
weren't the only nice trees at this site, 130ft class black cherries & white
ash, and 120ft class bitternut hickories were here too.
17cottonwood)1.jpg (283426 bytes) 17cottonwood02.jpg (311121 bytes)

17.9x125.4 cottonwood Long Point

We started by the Marina and headed due south. Just inside the woods were the
two massive cottonwoods. The first, which was all single, stood at 17.9ft CBH
x 125.4ft high. The next was even larger, with a big hollow gash you could
walk inside, at 20.3ft CBH x 118ft. This second tree split at around 15ft up
into two large stems. I was arguing that this particular tree could've been an
old double where the hollow gash was located, but there was no evidence of an
old fallen stem on the ground.

20cottonwood01.jpg (296709 bytes) 20cottonwood02.jpg (316543 bytes)
20cottonwood03.jpg (309870 bytes) 20cottonwood04.jpg (287564 bytes)

20.3x118 cottonwood Long Point

The flat that these cottonwoods were located on included various species
typically found in rich bottomlands in this neck of the woods: silver maple,
butternut, elm. As we progressed out of the seasonally wet areas we got into
more N. red oak, black cherries, white ash, and bitternut hickories. As we
worked our way east towards the base of the slope, we ran into a nice skinny
130ft class white ash.

We continued to work our way east uphill, about 60 vertical feet to a broad
plateau. Here lay an impressive hardwood stand of black cherry, sugar maple,
cucumbertree, N. red oaks, tuliptrees, and bitternut hickory. One particular
red oak went to 16.8ft CBH x 111.3ft high! We had one black cherry here that
made it into the low 130ft class. I think this makes only the 2nd documented
130ft class black cherry in New York. There may have been another 130ft class
black cherry in here, but we were rushed for time. I easily could've spent
another hour in this stand.

We then turned north crossing the parks entrance road and continued for about
1/2 mile until we ran into a much younger and unimpressive deciduous forest,
then headed due west to Long Point.

There was a nice hiking path that ran the circumference of Long Point. A number
of old weathered crown twisted trees were scattered here. If I remember
correctly, most of the weathered trees were N. red oaks, cucumbertrees, and
sugar maples.

Long Point State Park stats follows:

Species          CBH   Height   Comments

bitternut hickory 5.1 100.1
bitternut hickory 5.2 114.1+
bitternut hickory 7.7 115.4
bitternut hickory 7.3 126.1     personal highest measured

black cherry     11.3 107.6
black cherry     8.3   107.7
black cherry     9.1   108.5
black cherry     8.4   112.6
black cherry     11.1 115.7
black cherry     7.8   117.8
black cherry     9.4   120.1
black cherry     6.9   130.1

black locust     10.8 98.7
black locust     8.3   99.1+

butternut        4.5   66.1+

cottonwood       20.3 118       personal largest measured, 2395 ENTS points
cottonwood       17.9 125.4     gorgeous single, MASSIVE tree, 2245 ENTS points

cucumbertree     12    102.1+
cucumbertree     6.5   103.7
cucumbertree     6.4   105.1+
cucumbertree     7.8   106.2
cucumbertree     11    112.4
cucumbertree     6.3   115.5

E. hemlock       5.9   85.3

N. red oak       12.8 105.1
N. red oak       9.9   108
N. red oak       8.2   109.6
N. red oak       16.8 111.3

red maple        4.2   103.7
red maple        9     104.6

silver maple     9.2   109
silver maple     8.4   112.6

sugar maple      7.6   98.9
sugar maple      9.1   105.8

tuliptree        7.4   103.5
tuliptree        10.3 104.9
tuliptree        9.7   126.5

white ash        5.8   108.9
white ash        8.4   125.7
white ash        4.9   130.8

white oak        6.3   84.1+

yellow birch     7.5   92.3

Long Point State Park Rucker Index = 118.87
Species          CBH   Height   Comments

white ash        4.9   130.8    personal best H:D 83.82
black cherry     6.9   130.1    42 10.438N x 79 24.597W
tuliptree        9.7   126.5
bitternut hickory 7.3 126.1    42 10.527N x 79 24.626W
cottonwood       17.9 125.4    42 10.348N x 79 24.703W
cucumbertree     6.3   115.5
silver maple     8.4   112.6
N. red oak       16.8 111.3
sugar maple      9.1   105.8
red maple        9     104.6

Here are some pics of some nice black locusts on a private lot in Bemus Point, NY. It's almost adjacent (within stones throw) to Long Point State Park. Since I was pressed for time, I didn't gain permission to measure these trees. The sign they have in front of their yard says 'Isle of Wight 1822 Black Locust Guardian Trees'. The largest black locust Bruce, Gerry, and I measured at Long Point was 10.8ft CBH x 98.7ft high. The largest of the trees (black locust guardian 4.jpg) in this person's front yard, approached those growing close by (~1/2 mile) at Long Point.

I'm not sure on the credibility of the sign though. Bruce told me that black locust were an introduced species... I wasn't aware of that. If they were introduced, I don't have a clue when.

blg1.jpg (71637 bytes) blg2.jpg (58686 bytes)
blg3.jpg (68319 bytes) blg4.jpg (88250 bytes)


Re: Western NY & Southern Ontario ramble   Jess Riddle
  Sep 13, 2006 15:13 PDT 
Hi Dale,

Thanks for getting some tree measurements from Niagara Glen. I'd heard
about the uncut forest there, so it was nice to hear some numbers to flesh
out the description.

Long Point State Park sounds like a very nice place to walk around and
explore some rich woods. The cottonwood figures are very impressive, and
the black cherry isn't to shabby either.

Looking forward to hearing about what else you've seen recently,