Selkirk Shores State Park Pine Grove Sept. 7, 2014

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tomhoward
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Selkirk Shores State Park Pine Grove Sept. 7, 2014

Post by tomhoward » Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:45 pm

NTS,

On this beautiful sunny warm day (Sun. Sept. 7, 2014), Elijah Whitcomb of NTS and I explored Selkirk’s Boat Launch Pine Grove. We went there after exploring the old Red Oak-Tuliptree forest at Long Branch Park in Geddes in Onondaga County. This beautiful Pine Grove, the best stand of White Pine in central NY (the only really good White Pine stand in central NY), is on an inlet of the mouth of the Salmon River at the northern end of Selkirk Shores State Park. We did not see Lake Ontario, which was not far away. The site was fairly busy with people taking boats in and out of the Salmon River inlet. Yet this was a remarkably peaceful place, thanks to the beauty of the tall golden-lit White Pines. The air was very fresh, and fragrant like the much larger White Pine forests in Maine. This White Pine Grove is the tallest known forest on the Lake Ontario shore in both USA and Canada. The canopy is almost pure White Pine; the White Pines have rough bark, but not nearly as deeply furrowed as the bark of the much older old growth White Pines of Cook Forest and Hearts Content. The Selkirk White Pines are about 150-180 years old, ages estimated from previous ring counts. This was Elijah’s first visit to the Selkirk Pine Grove. We spent over 2 hours in the golden sunny late afternoon in this beautiful place, with the tall peaceful Pines, views of the inlet, boats, birds (Duck in water), cottages on other shores, stunted Red Oaks along shores. Red Oak is next to White Pine in abundance at this site. All hardwoods are lower and younger than the White Pines. Golden sunlight rippled beautifully on White Pine trunks, hardwood leaves. We saw 2 Deer in and near the Pine Grove.

Trees at Pine Grove: Dominant: White Pine
Associate: Red Oak, Red maple, Black Cherry, Striped Maple (one of biggest Elijah saw – 20-25 ft. tall), Yellow Birch, Cottonwood (west side of Grove), small Hemlock, small Blue Spruce, small Catalpa

White Pine reproduction is plentiful in open areas.

Trees measured (heights in feet, measured by Elijah and me):

White Pine Height 105 (above eye level, no basal shot0
White Pine Height 115.9
White Pine Height 115.7
White Pine Height 108.5 ft. (small, straight, younger than most)

Black Cherry near road, slender tree, one of taller hardwoods:
Height 96

Rather slender White Pine:
Height 108.5

Elijah measured one of the largest White Pines at 8 ft. 6 in. cbh.

We tried to re-measure the tall White Pine by the road to cabins that I measured to 122.7 ft. on Apr. 20. We were not able to repeat this measurement, because of the densely leafed out understory and this Pine’s wide crown; it was hard to tell which twig was highest. I saw a Red Squirrel on this Pine that I believe is the tallest.

Rather slender White Pine with woodpecker holes (next to the tree that I believe is the tallest):
Height 108.6

White Pine with double crown near just above:
Height 113.3

White Pine by ticket booth, finely formed tree with young White Pine next to it – I couldn't get a good basal shot so this is height above eye level only:
Height 103.53 (total height est. 110 ft.)

We saw a flock of Vultures circling high over and behind the tall golden-lit White Pines of the Grove.

White Pine by cabins at edge of Grove:
Height 110.6

Near the Pine Grove is a nice group of low twisted Red Oaks (with a few White Oaks near them), on a point that sticks out into the Salmon River inlet. They are not old, but picturesque, artistic trees with lichen-covered trunks, like many of the rugged, gnarled Red Oaks by the coast of Maine. There is an even more rugged, stunted Red Maple with bark half off at the farthest point.


Tom Howard

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