|I am going
to do a parallel commentary with Dales as we share this trip
report. My notes will be in brown and italicized to
distinguish them from Dale Luthringer's comments. Maple
Drive is an area on the extreme northwestern boundary of the
park. Dale has posted descriptions previously, but thus
was my first time to accompany him to the area. Click on
the thumbnails for larger versions of the images - Ed Frank
|Ed took a bunch of nice pictures of the area that give a decent feel for
the site. I was also able to take a few cores of select white pines
which helped to confirm it as a multi-age stand, and also to get a
handle on when past logging practices occurred
Ed first got a few shots of some nice northern red oaks. A few nearby
easily made it to the "coveted" 12x100 club. The largest approached
13.5ft CBH x 117ft high.
Large Red oak - one of many from the
areas south of Maple Drive. Conifers were at some point
selectively removed from this section, but several of these
large oaks remain from past timbering operations.
|We then came across a porcupine kill. There was a fairly sizeable pile
of quills and fur underneath a small hemlock tree that this particular
porcupine was feeding on for quite some time. Clipped ends of hemlock
branches littered the landscape underneath the tree's dripline as well
as a decent amount of scat. Looks like he stayed in one area too
long... long enough for one of our fishers to home in on him.
Porcupine Quills - a massive amount
of quills with no actual body present. There were signs of
porcupine activity elsewhere in our excursion today, so they are
certainly active in the park.
|Leaves have not budded out yet at Cook Forest. Am. beech leaves still
reluctantly cling to their branches as a reminder to the heyday of
brilliant colors from last fall. Our last batch of winter snow has just
melted within the last week.
I always thought it was interesting
how many beech leaves would cling to their branches the entire
winter. This particular area was dominated by American
beech. It is a shame that the tree has been severely
reduced in n umbers across much of its range.
American Beech leaves
|I cored 3 different size and bark classes of white pines to try to get a
feel for site history. Past select logging is evident due to old white
pine stumps and an old buggy/logging road of sorts that runs adjacent to
It appears that there are at least 3 and possibly 4 white pine age
classes. The smallest girthed pine (6.8ft CBH) went close to 95 years,
the next largest (~7.5ft CBH) went close to 130 years, the largest and
most twisted crown specimen (~9.5ft CBH) went close to 160 years.
Coring the 160 year old pine
| The largest girth and tallest pine, which topped out at 11.3ft CBH x 161.2ft
high (note Ed's "pine overview" shot), appeared to be in yet another
older age class. It was too big to effectively core, but I suspect it
should surpass 200 years.
These rough cores would correlate to various logging practices of the
general area. I'm not sure when this acreage was actually deeded over
to the park, but the earliest logging in this area would not be before
1828. Cores suggest white pine recruitment in the following time
frames: 1840's, 1870's, and early 1900's.
Pine Overview of the 161.2 foot tall by 11.3 foot CBH white
pine. Dale is at the base of the pine for scale.
|Many times white pine were harvested here first. After that market
dwindled, hemlock bark was more valuable, so another select harvest was
often made at previously harvested sites. This would explain the loss
of ancient white pine and hemlock throughout the majority of this area.
Of course, more cores would be needed to make a more accurate assessment
of this site, but it is a decent start.
Base of the 161.2 foot pine. Again Dale is present for
|I was pleased that we had the time to
visit some other interesting trees in the area. We found one black cherry that
had a very peculiar burl at its base. If you were to look closely at its base just up from the
downhill side, there was still enough room to see the original base
below the burl. The burl almost resembled a really fat beer gut hanging
over a belt line... no Bob, yours was never THAT bad...
Black Cherry Burl - very low on the trunk of the tree.