Algonquin Provincial Park ON

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Algonquin Provincial Park ON

Post by tomhoward » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:09 pm


Jack Howard, some other family members, and I stayed at a cottage resort east of the East Gate of Algonquin Provincial Park Aug. 23-25. This area is near the southern edge of the great Boreal Forest that covers most of Canada. This is part of the vast Canadian Shield, a rocky, hilly region of conifer forests, and countless lakes and rivers. The forest is mostly 2nd growth White Spruce, Balsam Fir, Quaking Aspen, with plentiful Black Spruce, Balsam Fir, and Tamarack in frequent bogs. White Pines are common in many areas, towering above all other trees. Balsam Poplar and Paper Birch are also common in some areas. There are scattered groups of Red Pine and Jack Pine, and some Hemlocks. Red Maple is also common.

On Aug. 23 Jack Howard and I took Algonquin’s Spruce Bog Boardwalk, a delightful easy trail through a bog and fragrant 2nd growth forest of White Pine, Red Pine, Black Spruce, Balsam Fir, Tamarack, Paper Birch, Red Maple, Striped Maple, young Red Oak, and tall (70-80 ft.?) Quaking Aspen. Bunchberry Dogwood is common on the ground. Black Spruce forms a nearly pure stand in the bog. A shrub in the bog with alternate compound leaves and red stems could be Poison Sumach.

On Aug. 24, Jack Howard, and family (including my brother’s 2-year-old grandson Dylan), and I took the first part of Algonquin’s rugged Big Pines Trail. It was a glorious outing, with everyone (including Dylan) fascinated by the forest. It was a warm sunny day (82F).

Bob and Monica Leverett took this trail a few years ago.

The forest is 2nd growth Boreal with many scattered towering old growth White Pines (220-225 years old, dating from 1790 forest fire). These White Pines are the tallest, most impressive trees I’ve ever seen in eastern Canada. Unfortunately, I did not have my height measuring equipment with me, but I did have my “D” tape. This forest is wondrously fragrant.

Trees seen on Big Pines Trail:
Dominant: Balsam Fir, White Spruce, Quaking Aspen (some large and old looking), Paper Birch, Sugar Maple (small), Red Maple (small).
Associate: White Pine (scattered groups awesomely large and tall, biggest, tallest, oldest trees on trail, a group of 5 White Pines at Post 2 of trail guide, tallest of all, easily over 130 ft. tall and possibly over 140 ft. tall – these are among the tallest trees in Ontario), White Cedar, Striped Maple, Mountain Maple, Beech, Yellow Birch, Black Cherry(?). The tallest White Pines are lofty, ethereal, timeless, seeming to touch the top of the sky. Clubmosses form part of the groundcover.

Big White Pine with leaning lower trunk at Post 1 – 35.9” dbh
At Post 2, one of the 5 towering White Pines – 34.1” dbh.

At Post 3, we came to the biggest tree of all, a giant White Pine with a boardwalk around its base. I measured its dbh as 48.8” (12.8 ft. cbh). It is the largest tree on the trail, the largest pine I’ve ever seen in Canada. Bob Leverett measured this tree to a height of 120.4 ft.

At this point we turned back, returned to our cars.

Tom Howard

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Algonquin Provincial Park ON

Post by Larry Tucei » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:06 pm

Tom- Wow those are amazing Diameters!! I bet they are a sight to see. The largest White Pine I've seen are in northeastern Wisconsin the Cathedral Pines.

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