Big Basin - Allegany State Park

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ElijahW
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by ElijahW » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:39 pm

Erik,

That Hemlock looks like one from the old growth areas in PA, such as Ricketts Glen, Hearts Content, or Cook Forest. Green Lakes used to have a Hemlock of similar size (though still probably a class below) as this one, but I don't know if it's still standing - I don't think it is. What a place!

Elijah

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:34 pm

On January 2nd I returned to the upper reaches of Red House Brook to explore a little more intensively and get a better sense of the extent of large old-growth hemlocks. My focus was hemlocks over 40"dbh or 110' tall. As before, the truly large hemlocks mainly occur low on the slopes and right within the streambed. I found it interesting that most of the sediments in the streambed are sand of varying fineness mixed with quartz pebbles- mostly derived from the quartz conglomerates that form the upper strata of the Allegheny plateau in this location. Exceptional Hemlock sites like Will documented in the Tsuga project and in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio are also strongly associated with quartz/sandstone geology. When I contrast the relatively svelte old-growth hemlocks of Zoar Valley with the impressive mass of the few remnant old-growth hemlocks in the similar Chautauqua Gorge, it occurs to me that the upper rim of the Chautauqua Gorge also has outcrops of a thick quartz conglomerate layer and further down cuts through glacial outwash deposits with a high sand content, features Zoar Valley lacks. These are the things that keep me up at night.
Sand and pebbles derived from quartz conglomerate bedrock.
Sand and pebbles derived from quartz conglomerate bedrock.
The new state max Black Cherry.
The new state max Black Cherry.
Anyways, the measurements. In addition to the hemlocks, a shortcut up onto the hardwood-dominant slope between two sub-basins turned up at last a truly tall Black Cherry- for the moment, the new state height maximum, and a much more substantial tree than the wispy specimen it beats out by a few tenths of a foot. I believe at this point I've covered pretty much all of the big hemlock territory, so next time I visit I plant to focus in on modeling a few of the largest stems for volume. Approaching from a different direction I carefully shot the height of what looked like a new very large hemlock- and it turned out to be the largest stem I measured on the last visit, with the new tripod-mounted height measurement within half a foot of the handheld rough measurement I made last time. Not bad.

Black Cherry
132.6' / 9.04'cbh
Eastern Hemlock
119.5' / 10.9'cbh
118.3' / 13.6'cbh
115.5' / (>30"dbh)
115' / 11.1'cbh
114.6' / 10.5'cbh
111' / 9.4'cbh
110' / 11.7'cbh
(unrecorded)/ 11.2'cbh

This brings the site's total count of >40"dbh eastern hemlocks to 13. It'll probably amount to more than 15 in just this drainage when all are accounted for. Most other sites in NY state are lucky to have just a few. It reminds me a bit of how the Ampersand wilderness white pine site stands out for its concentration of white pines >12'cbh.

RHI10 for Allegany State Park now comes to 133.3. I'm sure it's not done rising.
Typical scene- thick columnar hemlock, isolated above a sea of beech sprouts.
Typical scene- thick columnar hemlock, isolated above a sea of beech sprouts.
Interesting bark on this thick old hemlock on an old stream terrace.
Interesting bark on this thick old hemlock on an old stream terrace.
Attachments
119.5' tall hemlock at the confluence of two smaller streams.
119.5' tall hemlock at the confluence of two smaller streams.

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dbhguru
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by dbhguru » Sat Feb 22, 2020 2:07 pm

Erik,

You’ve done a staggering amount of work in Allegany SP. I hope someone in NY’s DEC recognizes and appreciates it.

Monica and I will visit the OG in May.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Lucas
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by Lucas » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:50 pm

FYI

https://bit.ly/2wdjLhe

Modeling the historical distribution of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) for potential restoration in western New York State, US

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sradivoy
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by sradivoy » Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:33 am

Although technically just south of the park and in a different state the Marilla Reservoir site just west of Bradford PA that was documented by Dale Luthringer years back is relevant in terms of the regions growth potential. There is a magnificent 140' x 14' cbh white pine known as "Miss Marilla" as well as an old 11' plus cbh yellow birch that I visited the other day while practicing social distancing from the famous bug contagion. I also spent a couple hours in the state park itself hiking the conservation trail before dark and spotted a 11' class black cherry with a very nice columnar trunk. It made for a happy day all things considering.

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:23 pm

Stefan,

Those parts of PA definitely are a good indicator for this area's growth potential. And it turns out ASP has its own answer to "Miss Marilla" in the western section, which I'll post about soon. Haven't found any really large Yellow Birch yet, though.

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by Erik Danielsen » Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:30 pm

In addition to a single tree (a very large Red Oak) measured on October 10 while visiting for other purposes, I was able to spend October 25 plying the Big Basin area for addition trees of note. I've been trying to focus more on recording large girths and eventually want to compile some rucker girth comparisons, inspired by Brian's excellent rucker height compilations. One of my goals on the 25th was specifically to relocate some girthy White Ash I had passed up while seeking tall trees last year. Taking this month's measurements into account the park's rucker girth index is getting pretty impressive for an upland hemlock-hardwoods system excluding open-grown trees.
Largest-girth Sugar Maple in the park so far.
Largest-girth Sugar Maple in the park so far.
One interesting thing about ASP is its scattering of old trees with dramatic basal flare (which does inevitably contribute to the high RGI). I haven't seen that so much in the postglacial soils in the rest of the forests I've explored in NY, so I wonder if that may be related to differences in soil texture and development. The sporadic girthy northern red oaks often seem to have specifically taken advantage of a blowdown opening and established a very dominant large canopy, though the largest to date is instead among dense large hardwoods and hemlocks on a steep slope
Largest beech, deteriorating but seemingly not from beech bark disease.
Largest beech, deteriorating but seemingly not from beech bark disease.
In the process of pursuing large girths, I encountered some very large and old-seeming sugar maples and a thick-trunked beech, and got into a very hemlock-dominant upland area where cross-sections of down hemlocks cut to clear the trail (the long-distance North Country Trail, in this case) indicated many presettlement trees, including an enormous gnarly Black Tupelo that may be my favorite tree in the park. This old forest section was similar to others in the park in being sandwiched between a ridgeline that may have been mostly or entirely cleared (where I found a nice Bitternut and new tallest Basswood), and a bottomland area that still contains some old trees but also many giant stumps (probably mostly white pine) indicating varying degrees of selective logging. I'd put this particular old forest section high on my list of candidates for least-disturbed areas of the park.
Crazy old Black Tupelo- almost 3'DBH
Crazy old Black Tupelo- almost 3'DBH
Additional large hemlocks, the two girthy ash I had seen before, and even a decent yellow birch all presented themselves in the bottomland along Stoddard Creek. I also relocated a bizarre crooked basswood I suspected may have a decent girth but found it to be recently snapped off. The girth of the snag was only a tenth of a foot more than the tall basswood I measured earlier, at least.

Sugar Maple
112' / 11.95'cbh
99' / 10/95'cbh broken top

Basswood
123.73' / 8.5'cbh
115.5' / 7.8'cbh
115' / 5.95'cbh

White Ash
122.5' / 11.05'cbh
120.5' / 10.7'cbh
112' / 9.85'cbh
111.5' / 11.1'cbh

Eastern Hemlock
124' / 10.1'cbh upland old forest area
120.5' / 11.4'cbh stoddard hollow
119' / 9.45'cbh

Black Cherry
126' / 8.95'cbh

Bitternut Hickory
113.5' / 5.7'cbh

Northern Red Oak
109.5' / 15'cbh
105.5' / 13.5'cbh

Yellow Birch
100.5' / 7.4'cbh

American Beech no beech bark disease signs, but basal distortion from big hollow
91' / 11.7'cbh

Black Tupelo incredible tree! Columnar to a broken and resprouted crown.
95' / 9.15'cbh
Largest-girthed White Ash
Largest-girthed White Ash
Peering up the trunk of the largest-girthed Sugar Maple- seriously balded bark.
Peering up the trunk of the largest-girthed Sugar Maple- seriously balded bark.
The Rucker Girth breakdown for the park at present:

15.1'cbh White Pine
15.0'cbh Northern Red Oak
14.0'cbh Red Maple
13.58'cbh Eastern Hemlock
11.95'cbh Sugar Maple
11.75'cbh Black Cherry
11.7'cbh American Beech
11.1'cbh White Ash
9.4'cbh White Oak
9.4'cbh Shagbark Hickory

RGI5= 13.93, RGI10=12.3

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bbeduhn
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by bbeduhn » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:54 am

Erik,

That tupelo is impressive! A little basal flare on old growth trees is a-ok with me. It's not like the baldcypress flare on the "National Champ". I like your idea of doing girth indices. George Feio has been doing them for years, in PA, MD, and DE. I'll make it a point to get more girths as well.

Brian

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sradivoy
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by sradivoy » Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:15 pm

That Black Tupelo reminded me of the "headless horseman" from Sleepy Hollow. The fifteen ft. white pine is a major find in these parts as well as your 13ft hemlock from an earlier report. Congrats!

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Big Basin - Allegany State Park

Post by Erik Danielsen » Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:21 pm

Thanks, the pine's photos and full stats are in the "Trackless West" thread.

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