Camillus Forest Unique Area

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Camillus Forest Unique Area

Post by ElijahW » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:58 pm


Measurements from the Camillus Forest Unique Area "old forest:"

Sugar Maple Acer saccharum

121.0' x 10.00'
120.0' x 7.05'
116.3' x 7.88'

American Beech Fagus grandifolia

106.8' x 9.27'

American Basswood Tilia americana

110.4' x 6.45'

Younger adjacent forest:

Bitternut Hickory Carya cordiformis

123.6' x 8.63'

Butternut Juglans cinerea

102.3' x 6.14'

Rucker 5 Height Index: 112.8'

The Camillus Unique Area, while not old growth, is still a good example of mature Sugar Maple-American Beech forest. According to the NY DEC website, the land including the Unique Area was settled and farmed starting around 1800, and much of it was cleared early on for crops and pasture. The core of the Unique Area was supposedly used for sugaring (and probably firewood), and to my eye, does not look like it was completely cleared nor tilled, at least since the early 19th century. The old forest area description on the DEC website suggests that the oldest trees on the property are likely around 200 years old. I was able to get a rough ring count on a fallen Sugar Maple of ~125 growth rings; this was approximately 35' above the tree's base. This fallen tree was of average size for the surrounding forest.

After the Liverpool School Maple Grove and Green Lakes State Park, I would recommend the Camillus Unique Area as one of the best places to see an old Sugar Maple-dominant forest in the Central NY region. My first visit was in 2013, but I hadn't been back recently, and I probably should have. The problem is that I live so close to the Liverpool site and I get spoiled by that forest's beauty and accessibility.

If you're ever in the Camillus area, I'd encourage you to visit this site. While it's not true old growth, it still is an important forest, with excellent views of the surrounding area and a great wildflower display in the springtime.


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