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Storm King State Park, Orange County

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:18 pm
by ElijahW

The beginning of this thread I'll confine to "The Clove" area of Storm King State Park. When I'm able to return and survey additional portions of the park, I'll add that later. Here's a Google Earth view of what I worked my way through yesterday, April 7, 2019.
Storm King Mountain.JPG
Bounded by the Hudson River to the east and West Point to the south, the steep wooded terrain and sheer rock walls of Storm King Mountain have intrigued me for quite some time. Earlier this year I made an attempt to survey this portion of the state park, but was thwarted by lots of ice and fog. On this trip, the weather was delightful and the only problem I ran into was my lack of stamina for climbing up, down, and around all the boulders that litter "The Clove," or backside of the mountain. I didn't climb to the top of Storm King Mountain on this visit, but I've read that it reveals great views of the Hudson River, West Point, and the Hudson Highlands on the opposite shore of the river. I did hike down from the parking area on the east side of NY-9W through The Clove, across NY-218, and to the river, measuring anything interesting along the way. NY-218 has been closed for several months, and I don't know when it will reopen, but beginning a hike from along that route would be much easier and probably more productive than what I did.

Most of the forest I walked through was relatively young. I would estimate its age at around 100 years, though I'm sure many individual trees date back further than that. What is clear is that very little, if any, old growth exists in any of the areas with easily-traversed terrain; up higher on the balds and perhaps lower in some of the steep boulder fields some trees may reach significant age. Here's what I measured (many trees lack CBH figures due to the steep terrain):

Tuliptree Liriodendron tulipifera

141.3' x 9.25'

American Sycamore Planatus occidentalis


Eastern Cottonwood Populus deltoides

120.3' x 9.5'
110.2' x 8.53

White Ash Fraxinus americana


American Basswood Tilia americana

110.7' x 6.58'

Sugar maple Acer saccharum


Tree of Heaven Ailanthus altissima


Bitternut Hickory Carya cordiformis


Red Hickory Carya ovalis


Northern Red Oak Quercus rubra


Black Oak Quercus velutina


Chestnut Oak Quercus montana


Rucker 10 Height Index: 119.1'

A taller Tuliptree in this area is definitely a possibility; the 155' and 149' trees are older than the others I measured, and grow in a steep boulder field below NY-218. If that small area can be accessed, more tall individuals might be found.


Re: Storm King State Park, Orange County

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:27 pm
by ElijahW

Some photos from my visit:
Mountain laurel
Mountain laurel
Shoulder of Storm King Mountain
Shoulder of Storm King Mountain
Hudson Highlands
Hudson Highlands
Hudson River looking east
Hudson River looking east
General terrain
General terrain

Re: Storm King State Park, Orange County

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:17 am
by dbhguru

Years ago, Bart Bouricius, Gary Breluzo, and I went to a site on the other side of the Hudson and confirmed some whopper tuliptrees, though none made 150 at that time. I had always wondered what was on the opposite of the river. Obviously some great trees. We're indebted to you.