Big Basin - Allegany State Park

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ElijahW
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by ElijahW » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:39 pm

Erik,

That Hemlock looks like one from the old growth areas in PA, such as Ricketts Glen, Hearts Content, or Cook Forest. Green Lakes used to have a Hemlock of similar size (though still probably a class below) as this one, but I don't know if it's still standing - I don't think it is. What a place!

Elijah

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:34 pm

On January 2nd I returned to the upper reaches of Red House Brook to explore a little more intensively and get a better sense of the extent of large old-growth hemlocks. My focus was hemlocks over 40"dbh or 110' tall. As before, the truly large hemlocks mainly occur low on the slopes and right within the streambed. I found it interesting that most of the sediments in the streambed are sand of varying fineness mixed with quartz pebbles- mostly derived from the quartz conglomerates that form the upper strata of the Allegheny plateau in this location. Exceptional Hemlock sites like Will documented in the Tsuga project and in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio are also strongly associated with quartz/sandstone geology. When I contrast the relatively svelte old-growth hemlocks of Zoar Valley with the impressive mass of the few remnant old-growth hemlocks in the similar Chautauqua Gorge, it occurs to me that the upper rim of the Chautauqua Gorge also has outcrops of a thick quartz conglomerate layer and further down cuts through glacial outwash deposits with a high sand content, features Zoar Valley lacks. These are the things that keep me up at night.
Sand and pebbles derived from quartz conglomerate bedrock.
Sand and pebbles derived from quartz conglomerate bedrock.
The new state max Black Cherry.
The new state max Black Cherry.
Anyways, the measurements. In addition to the hemlocks, a shortcut up onto the hardwood-dominant slope between two sub-basins turned up at last a truly tall Black Cherry- for the moment, the new state height maximum, and a much more substantial tree than the wispy specimen it beats out by a few tenths of a foot. I believe at this point I've covered pretty much all of the big hemlock territory, so next time I visit I plant to focus in on modeling a few of the largest stems for volume. Approaching from a different direction I carefully shot the height of what looked like a new very large hemlock- and it turned out to be the largest stem I measured on the last visit, with the new tripod-mounted height measurement within half a foot of the handheld rough measurement I made last time. Not bad.

Black Cherry
132.6' / 9.04'cbh
Eastern Hemlock
119.5' / 10.9'cbh
118.3' / 13.6'cbh
115.5' / (>30"dbh)
115' / 11.1'cbh
114.6' / 10.5'cbh
111' / 9.4'cbh
110' / 11.7'cbh
(unrecorded)/ 11.2'cbh

This brings the site's total count of >40"dbh eastern hemlocks to 13. It'll probably amount to more than 15 in just this drainage when all are accounted for. Most other sites in NY state are lucky to have just a few. It reminds me a bit of how the Ampersand wilderness white pine site stands out for its concentration of white pines >12'cbh.

RHI10 for Allegany State Park now comes to 133.3. I'm sure it's not done rising.
Typical scene- thick columnar hemlock, isolated above a sea of beech sprouts.
Typical scene- thick columnar hemlock, isolated above a sea of beech sprouts.
Interesting bark on this thick old hemlock on an old stream terrace.
Interesting bark on this thick old hemlock on an old stream terrace.
Attachments
119.5' tall hemlock at the confluence of two smaller streams.
119.5' tall hemlock at the confluence of two smaller streams.

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dbhguru
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by dbhguru » Sat Feb 22, 2020 2:07 pm

Erik,

You’ve done a staggering amount of work in Allegany SP. I hope someone in NY’s DEC recognizes and appreciates it.

Monica and I will visit the OG in May.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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