Old Maids Woods

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Old Maids Woods

Post by ElijahW » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:41 am


Before heading north into the Adirondacks yesterday to look for Red spruce, I figured I'd swing by and take a second shot at Old Maids Woods in Schenectady. Tom Howard and I stopped there briefly last weekend, but decided that the general state of the trail and lack of markings were enough to postpone our foray into the old growth. After looking over the site on Google Earth, I figured that the chances of getting lost and/or trespassing were slim and decided to return and make a quick survey of what was there.

The portion of these woods containing old growth seems to be around 10 acres, starting on a short, but steep slope, and leveling out into a wonderfully open area on top. Tree heights are not incredible, but respectable for the region. Species diversity is also excellent, though most of the usual invasives are present. Below is a tally of the trees I encountered in my brief survey:

White pine
Pitch pine
Red pine
Eastern hemlock
Red maple
Sugar maple
Silver maple
Norway maple
Pignut hickory
Bitternut hickory
Shagbark hickory
American hornbeam
Gray birch
Black birch
Black cherry
Black locust
White oak
Black oak
Northern red oak
European buckthorn
American chestnut

Again, heights were not super, but here's what I measured in my hour on site:

White pine 126'
Eastern hemlock 121'
Red pine 100'
Pitch pine 96'
Black locust 111'
Red maple 96'
Black birch 84'
White oak 102'
Black oak 103'
Northern Red oak 108'
American chestnut ~50'

A rough Rucker height index puts the site at 106'; with more work, it will like be between 110' and 115'.

The old growth areas seemed to have little or no undergrowth, and canopy gaps were being filled by hickory, sugar maple, and in one section, American chestnut. Black oak and white oak seem to have great age, which is as advertised. Hemlock seems a good bit older than the white pine, but that's just a guess. Pitch pine, with two or three individuals, may also be aged, as 96' is exceptional height for the area. I'll return to Old Maids Woods at some point for pictures, girth measurements, and a more detailed survey.

Here's a link to previous visits by some familiar names http://www.ancientforests.us/surveys/OldMaidsWoods.htm.

"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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