Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:01 pm
by mhenry
This area is significant for age, not size of trees. I used data supplied by a dendrochronologist to locate it, down to gps-level location of 240 year-old paper birch. And yes, they were in and adjacent to an old campground. As we say in the book, "If you didn't know what you were looking for, you'd probably never guess this was an old-growth forest." Old-growth boreal forest often just doesn't look like much (white cedar would be an exception), but you have to admit that 240-year-old paper birch is notable - it's the oldest record I could find for Ontario. Because it doesn't look like much, the existence of old-growth boreal forest was denied for decades, and still would be by some foresters. Granted, Rainbow Falls is not the finest example (except by one measure). This was by far the hardest chapter of the book to write because information was almost non-existent. Go to Little Abitibi Park if you really want to see old-growth boreal wilderness - the trees will still be very short though, while reaching 300 years in age. In Western Ontario, go to Greenwood Lake for largish trees (even by your standards) - but this is Great Lakes - St. Lawrence forest, not boreal.

Size isn't everything.