A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

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Erik Danielsen
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A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Post by Erik Danielsen » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:19 am

Yesterday my girlfriend and I made a quick trip to Lilydale to look at the trees (a few weeks from now they start charging for entry). It was a pretty casual visit but I thought I'd share a few photos and girths. The sheer number of very large, tall forest-grown old-growth specimens that can be accessed easily even by those with disabilities that keep them out of the woods is pretty remarkable. Among the exceptional canopy of the grove you can find a few maple species, cucumber magnolia, red oak, beech, a lot of impressive black cherry, and the real stars of the woods are the towering hemlocks and white pines. Many of the ancient stumps and downed logs are also quite impressive. I'm stitching together a panoramic shot of a nice hemlock that came in at 11'3" CBH that I'll post soon as well.
For example, this stump measured 13'4" CBH even with a large portion of its bulk missing on the other side. It looked like white pine and had reishi growing on it.
For example, this stump measured 13'4" CBH even with a large portion of its bulk missing on the other side. It looked like white pine and had reishi growing on it.
This trunk sits right along the main trail.
This trunk sits right along the main trail.
A view of the canopy. Note the missing pine top.
A view of the canopy. Note the missing pine top.
This beech just went up and up like a column. Large open lightning wound in one side, no apparent bark disease.
This beech just went up and up like a column. Large open lightning wound in one side, no apparent bark disease.
Lots of tall singlestem cherry in this size range.
Lots of tall singlestem cherry in this size range.
This was one of the most impressive white pines, at 13'8" CBH.
This was one of the most impressive white pines, at 13'8" CBH.
This is the only really old red oak left, leaning precariously against a smaller hemlock. Measure 14'1" circumference at 5'6" high to exclude a large knob.
This is the only really old red oak left, leaning precariously against a smaller hemlock. Measure 14'1" circumference at 5'6" high to exclude a large knob.

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tomhoward
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Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Post by tomhoward » Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:08 pm

Erik,

Leolyn Grove is a magnificent site. Thanks for posting the great pictures.

I was there in June 2003 and the great old trees there awed me. The Black Cherries are the largest of their kind I've ever seen, and the giant Red Oak is the largest forest-grown Oak I've ever seen.

My brother and I plan to visit Lily Dale this coming August, and we'll be on the lookout for the biggest trees, especially the huge Cherries, the giant White Pine, and Red Oak.

Tom Howard

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Post by Erik Danielsen » Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:50 am

Yeah, it sure is quite an oak! There are some younger, thinner ones that are fairly tall but that's the last of the old ones. I've been finding little clusters of red oak of similar-seeming age (though usually not so tall) throughout the region and I hope to put together a little report on them, comparing their growth and forms through the lens of their different site conditions, once I get my rangefinder and can fill out the data.

Perhaps when you come through in august I could meet you at the grove to see how some experienced tree-measurers go about it?
Here's the 11'3" cbh hemlock, probably not the biggest in the grove but a break in the canopy provided a nice view of its crown.
Here's the 11'3" cbh hemlock, probably not the biggest in the grove but a break in the canopy provided a nice view of its crown.
And here's the full view of that 13'8" white pine.
And here's the full view of that 13'8" white pine.
Here's one of the largest forest-grown reds I've found outside lilydale (in perrysburg, ny), which seems a bit younger but of competitive dimensions. I've got to get back and do some measuring.
Here's one of the largest forest-grown reds I've found outside lilydale (in perrysburg, ny), which seems a bit younger but of competitive dimensions. I've got to get back and do some measuring.

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tomhoward
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Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Post by tomhoward » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:55 pm

Erik,

My brother and I would like to meet you at Lily Dale. We plan to get there by some time in the afternoon of Mon. Aug. 18.

Tom Howard

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:55 pm

Great, I'll look forward to meeting you then.

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tomhoward
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Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Post by tomhoward » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:20 am

Erik,

My brother Jack Howard and I plan to meet you at the entrance to Leolyn Woods today about 2:30-3 P.M. We have a red car with Ontario plates.

Tom Howard

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:51 am

Hi Tom, I'll see what I can do. I've got some work to do this morning and wasn't sure if you were still coming but I'll shoot for 3. My phone number is 716 410 2496- if I haven't showed up by 3 feel free to give me a call.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:31 pm

Erik- Nice post, Lilydale looks like a really cool Forest! The photos you shot are good and it can be difficult to photograph trees in leaf. Larry

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Post by Erik Danielsen » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:54 pm

Thanks, Larry. Yesterday Tom Howard, his brother Jack and I did successfully meet up to do some tree appreciating and measuring at the grove. I really enjoyed hanging out with some seasoned ents and hearing stories of past meetups, including a visit to this same grove 11 years ago that Tom had taken part in. My own rangefinder is off to the shop for repair under warranty but Tom was fully equipped so we were able to get some exciting numbers. He'll post the full set after he's done with his trip but in the meantime I'll share some photos and a couple measurement highlights. Sadly, one of the big questions Tom had was "where'd all the white pine go?" There are really just 2 or 3 big whites left in the grove, along with a couple snags. Tom recalls a dense stand of them leaving quite an impression when he visited a decade ago. Any insight here into what might be the cause of such a significant decline?
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Crown of the big pine viewed past a very large hemlock. This pine seems very healthy but the snag in between is a reminder that the pines here have apparently declined significantly. Hopefully this and the other nice one we measured will hold on for a while yet.
Crown of the big pine viewed past a very large hemlock. This pine seems very healthy but the snag in between is a reminder that the pines here have apparently declined significantly. Hopefully this and the other nice one we measured will hold on for a while yet.
Jack at the base of the big white pine- 142' tall and 150.39"cbh. Quite a tree!
Jack at the base of the big white pine- 142' tall and 150.39"cbh. Quite a tree!
Tom and Jack beneath the big Cucumber Magnolia, possibly a state champ contender at 113.03' tall and 118.9"cbh
Tom and Jack beneath the big Cucumber Magnolia, possibly a state champ contender at 113.03' tall and 118.9"cbh

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tomhoward
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Re: A visit to the Leolyn Grove at Lilydale

Post by tomhoward » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:24 am

NTS,

Here is my report on Lily Dale Aug. 18. It was really great meeting Erik Danielsen and spending time measuring the great trees of this outstanding site.

On Mon. Aug. 18, 2014, a perfect summer day with warm sun, Jack Howard and I set out from North Syracuse, NY on our weeklong trip to old growth sites in southwestern NY and northwestern PA. Our first stop was the famous old growth grove called Leolyn Woods at Lily Dale, NY, the world center of Spiritualism. I visited Lily Dale for the first time June 29, 2003, with Robert Henry and Lou Sebesta. I had not back there since, and it was a site that left a deep impression on me, an extremely dense old growth forest of towering trees, especially Black Cherries, with a core of immensely tall ancient White Pines.

Jack and I arrived at Lily Dale, nearly 200 miles from North Syracuse, in mid afternoon. We parked by the entrance to Leolyn Woods, and we came upon big trees even before that. Lily Dale is a nice town with old Victorian style houses, streets lined by huge trees, especially Sugar Maples, Black Cherries. We met Erik Danielsen of NTS, who was waiting for us. We spent nearly three hours measuring the great trees of Leolyn Woods; this old growth forest covers only about 20 acres, but it seemed much larger, due to an extremely high density of towering ancient trees. The huge Black Cherries were especially impressive, forming tight groups of lofty old trees well over 100 ft. tall. There were also many huge Hemlocks, Sugar Maples, Beeches (most of them suffering from Beech Bark Disease). But the White Pines were nearly gone – the giant over 140-foot tall trees that awed us in 2003 had mostly died, and we could only find 2 large living White Pines in the center of the grove; both of these Pines appeared healthy.

Erik measured girths in meters with his metric “D” tape, and I used the laser rangefinder and clinometer that Ed Frank loaned me, and my scientific calculator to measure heights; Erik wrote down results in his notes, and so did I.

We took the easy trail to the huge Inspiration Stump, a preserved (partly by concrete) stump of a giant tree, a White Pine most likely that fell before 1898, where the Spiritualists hold services. It is a magical spot, peaceful with a spiritual feel among giant old hardwoods and Hemlocks.

Before we got to the Inspiration Stump, we measured a big trail right by the trail, a huge Cucumber Magnolia, that could be the NY State Champion.
The big Cucumber Magnolia, 3.2 meters cbh (10.5 ft. cbh):
Height 113.15 ft.

A huge Red Maple, which Erik measured at 3.2 meter cbh (10.5 ft. cbh), by Inspiration Stump between smaller Sugar Maple and smaller Cucumber Magnolia. Another huge Red Maple near Inspiration Stump, 2.98 meters cbh (9.8 ft. cbh), and at least 110 ft. tall with straight up shot of laser rangefinder.

We walked deep into the forest, came to a huge Red Oak, 3.44 meters cbh (11.3 ft. cbh), and over 114.5 ft. tall from straight up shot.

Black Cherry with leaning trunk (2.62 meters cbh, 8.6 ft. cbh) near this Red Oak:
Height 111.6 ft.

Rather slender (2.36 meters cbh, 7.8 ft. cbh) Black Cherry to right of old Black Cherry, too close to base to get basal shot:
H1 115.2 ft.+

Another Black Cherry (3.06 meters cbh, 10 ft. cbh) near above, straight up shot 114.5 ft. + tall

Another Black Cherry (2.63 meters cbh, 8.6 ft. cbh), height 117+ ft., too close to base to get basal shot

These are the most awesome Black Cherries I’ve ever seen, with gnarled lofty glowing sunlit crowns composed of shiny silvery shimmering leaves.

Everywhere were many big healthy Hemlocks; we saw a huge Beech tree, prematurely turning bronze due to Beech Bark Disease. We saw a big Black Cherry, (which I measured at 39.4” dbh with my old “D” tape) with a huge burl, and then a big double-trunked Basswood. Throughout Leolyn Woods we saw lots of ancient treefall pit and mound topography. We saw a giant Hemlock (3.99 meters cbh, 13.1 ft. cbh) with a huge scar, and then a giant White Ash.

Yellow Birch 1.81 meters cbh (5.94 ft. cbh):
Height 90.9 ft. – tall for this species in NY

We came to the first of only 2 surviving White Pines, a giant tree possibly about 300 years old, and 3.82 meters cbh (12.532 ft. dbh):
Height 142 ft. – tallest tree at Lily Dale

Near this White Pine was the other surviving old White Pine, a more slender tree (3.18 meters cbh, 10.4 ft. cbh) that seemed even taller – I got a height of at least 135 ft. with a straight up shot. This tree is near the main trail that loops through the forest.

Red Maple, huge gnarly tree by trail (my measurement 37.2” dbh):
Height 118.5 ft. – one of the tallest Red Maples in NY State

We were near the giant Red Oak that so awed us in 2003, a gnarly, twisty old tree over 58” dbh in 2003, that was then the thickest forest-grown tree I had ever seen in the East. This tree was still healthy today, and I measured it to 58.3” dbh – it is still one of the largest diameter forest-grown trees I’ve ever seen in an eastern forest. This tree is extremely gnarly, mossy (moss up trunk well into canopy), and it could be one of the oldest Red Oaks in the world, possibly over 300 years old. This is my best attempt to measure this great tree’s complex crown:
Height 99.5 + ft. – not the top, tree is taller than this

Near the great Red Oak, was an old gnarly Black Cherry 41.2” dbh, with a rugged curving trunk. The even larger 44.5” dbh Black Cherry (the largest I’ve ever seen) that Robert Henry and I measured in 2003 (for dbh only), seems to be gone.

In the same area, we found a huge shaggy, gnarled, tall, sinuous single-trunked Red Maple 39” dbh. The canopy was too dense to get a height measurement.

Near the end of the trail, we saw 2 younger broad-crowned big Red Oaks across a small clearing. The first Red Oak (3.58 meters cbh, 11.75 ft. cbh):
Height 110.43 ft.

Erik measured the other Red Oak (3.04 meters cbh, 10 ft. cbh) to a height of 110.4 ft.

We visited the old Pet Cemetery, in search of the huge White Pines that stood there in 2003; all the big White Pines were gone, except for the snag of a very tall recently dead White Pine. We heard and saw a Pileated Woodpecker tapping on a dead branch of the White Pine snag. There were many big healthy Hemlocks.

This was an extraordinary outing, to this beautiful diverse old growth forest. Big trees include Hemlock (most abundant), Black Cherry (best site I’ve ever been to for this species, awesome groups of towering Black Cherries that could be the tallest in NY, with 130 ft. heights (as measured by Bob Leverett in 2001), but we couldn’t get heights of 120 ft. in the dense leafy canopy in 2014), Red Maple (best I’ve seen in NY State), Sugar Maple, White Ash, Beech, Basswood, Cucumber Magnolia, Yellow Birch, only 2 White Pines, and the site is said to have at least one big Tuliptree, but we didn’t see it. The soil at Lily Dale is rich, filled with nutrients.

It was early evening, and we had to get to our motel in Falconer, NY (just east of Jamestown) so we said “good by” to Erik.

Here are some of the pictures Jack took.



Tom Howard
Attachments
Woods Sign
Woods Sign
Erik Danielsen measures cbh
Erik Danielsen measures cbh
Tom Howard and Erik Danielsen
Tom Howard and Erik Danielsen
White Pine 142 ft.
White Pine 142 ft.
Towering White Pine
Towering White Pine
Indian Pipe
Indian Pipe
Fungi
Fungi
Dying Beech
Dying Beech
Black Cherries
Black Cherries
In Pet Cemetery
In Pet Cemetery

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