Page 1 of 1

Hunter's Creek Gorge, East Aurora, NY

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:39 pm
by Erik Danielsen
Today I paid a visit to two properties along Hunter's Creek, yet another Lake Erie tributary gorge. One was Kenneglen Preserve, owned and managed by the WNY Land Conservancy. The other, the Emmerling Property, lines the other side of the creek and the Conservancy is in the process of trying to acquire it as an additional preserve. Both are just downstream from Hunter's Creek County Park, which is occasionally mentioned in literature on NY old-growth, but mainly just on the basis of very old stunted hemlocks.
"A" is the upland managed stand in Emmerling, "B" is the gorge bottom/floodplain managed stand in Emmerling, "C" is the slope forest in Kenneglen, "D" is the old-growth terrace in Kenneglen.
"A" is the upland managed stand in Emmerling, "B" is the gorge bottom/floodplain managed stand in Emmerling, "C" is the slope forest in Kenneglen, "D" is the old-growth terrace in Kenneglen.
My purpose was primarily to assess the Emmerling property for the Conservancy, but I also took time to scope some trees in the gorge bottom in Kenneglen. The results support the pattern I've been observing in lake erie gorges- the tallest trees overall tend towards the east-facing slopes. In this case, the east-facing slopes belong to Kenneglen. There is also more apparent old-growth in the gorge bottom in Kenneglen (though most of the property is red pine plantation), whereas all of Emmerling has seen some or another degree of timber management. This has however had an admirably light touch, including probably the nicest regularly-harvested stand I've measured in, with many impressive trees clearly left intentionally, including the only forest-grown American Elm in NY state that can rival the stature and presence of Zoar Valley's champion. The natural associations are hemlock-northern-hardwoods, mixed mesophytic hardwoods, and a bit of floodplain species intergrading in some of the successionally younger terraces. Logging has of course sort of shifted the species balances around.
The great Elm.
The great Elm.
Bitternut Hickory
126.59' / 6.4'cbh (D)
121.41' / 6.99'cbh (B)
115.99' / double (B)
112' / 8.13'cbh (A)
Eastern Hemlock I have no rational explanation for why three of these have identical girths, and two near-identical heights
123.43' / 8.04'cbh (D)
123.33' / 8.04'cbh (D)
108.81' / 8.04'cbh (B)
108.45' / 6.17'cbh (B)
Black Cherry
121.3' / 8.4'cbh (C)
109.5' / 6.72'cbh (A)
108.5' / 10.14'cbh (A)
American Elm
118.21' / 10.1'cbh (A)
American Basswood
117.72' / 7.12'cbh (C)
108' / 5.41'cbh (A)
American Sycamore
117.26' / 8.27'cbh (B)
Northern Red Oak
116.21' / 11.41'cbh (A)
110.43' / 9.32'cbh (A)
Cucumber Magnolia
112.91' / 9.64'cbh (A)
110.01' / 6.3'cbh (A)
108.5' / 6.36'cbh (D)
Eastern Cottonwood
112.5' / 13.22'cbh (B)
108' / 6.4'cbh (B)
Black Maple
112.17' / 6.36'cbh (A)
108.49' / 7.71'cbh (A)
Sugar Maple
111' / 6.13'cbh (A)
107' / 7.97'cbh (A)
White Pine
110' / 6.07'cbh (A)
White Ash
106.5' / 5.31'cbh (D)
Hophornbeam
60.5' / 3.21'cbh (B)
Big Cottonwood, a sort of intermediate form.
Big Cottonwood, a sort of intermediate form.
The tallest Hemlock.
The tallest Hemlock.
RHI10 so far is 117.83'. I think I've covered about a third of the potential tall-tree area.