Allens Meadows Park and Kristine Lilly Field

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ryandallas
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:23 pm

Allens Meadows Park and Kristine Lilly Field

Post by ryandallas » Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:26 pm

This post is an edit from 5/10/2020

In early 2019 I did some "terrain sleuthing" and discovered that Wilton, CT is home to a massive eastern-facing slope. My searches had shown that tulip trees reach their greatest heights on such slopes, so I headed to Wilton to look for some tall ones. I staked out Allens Meadow PArk and the nearby Kristine Lilly Field.

The first tree I measured grows near Kristine Lilly Field, Wilton High School's soccer field. The field is adjacent to Allens Meadow. This tree was not growing in a pure stand, unlike most tall TTs. The surrounding terrain was quite rocky, so there were quite a few sugar maples and other species. This tree turned out to be 149.4' feet tall. Another tree by the field, a double tree, was a similar height, but the position of the sun made it impossible to measure.

From there I headed north, back to Allens Meadow. Walking along a small river, I saw a very tall double tree that was growing on the hillside. It turned out to be a whopping 155.4 feet tall! So not only is Allens Meadow in the 150+ club, it's also in the super-exclusive 155+ club. The Pequonnock is the only other member of this club.

Overall, this east-facing slope, which I call the "Wilton Ridge", might be the premier tall TT spot in CT. It runs from Wilton High School to Georgetown (roughly), and a good chunk of its length has tall TTs. This is a place that warrants further investigation.
Last edited by ryandallas on Sun May 10, 2020 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Allens Meadows Park and Kristine Lilly Field

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:37 pm

Ryan,

Excellent terrain sleuthing and nice finds. That potential 17x140 tulip sounds monstrous! By western slopes, I assume you mean west-facing? So far I have almost always seen the tallest trees on east-facing slopes, to the point that ravines with similar species compositions on each slope are typically around 10' shorter on the west-facing slopes than the east-facing. It is fascinating how topography influences tree height in different circumstances.

ryandallas
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Re: Allens Meadows Park and Kristine Lilly Field

Post by ryandallas » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:49 pm

Thanks Erik. And yes, that tulip is amazing. I just have to get permission to measure it. And yes, by "western", I mean east-facing. I have found that east-facing slopes that are not too rocky are usually colonized by tulips. They simply out-compete everything else and form pure stands, with a red oak here and there. I don't know why that is. But if the slope is on the rockier side, then maple, oak, beech etc. out-compete the tulips. But if there is a floodplain below such a rocky slope, then the floodplain often holds tall tulips (as is the case in Wilton, and the Birchbank Open Space in Shelton).

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dbhguru
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Re: Allens Meadows Park and Kristine Lilly Field

Post by dbhguru » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:08 pm

Congratulations Ryan. You are breaking new ground. Looking forward to visiting those sites.

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

ryandallas
Posts: 116
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Re: Allens Meadows Park and Kristine Lilly Field

Post by ryandallas » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:47 pm

Thanks Bob. I would like to show you these places in the spring when it's nicer out. Just let me know what time works for you.

ryandallas
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Re: Allens Meadows Park and Kristine Lilly Field

Post by ryandallas » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:08 pm

I am now able to post photos, so here are some from this very promising spot.

The park is a recreational one containing several soccer fields. At its western border, there is a creek and a hillside. The hillside is, at its tallest, almost 200 feet tall. It is not part of the park and does not contain any trails.
AllensParkHillside.png
At the southwestern border of the park, the hillside is quite rocky and covered with beech, sugar maple, etc. Further north, however, the hillside is not rocky and is dominated by tulip trees.
AllensParkTulipTrees.png
The tree with the arrow above it is 144' tall. Several trees behind it are in the upper-140s/low-150s range. One tree waayyyyy up the slope is 147' tall. I measured it from the soccer field, almost 1000' away! I don't know how accurate that measurement was.

This park has a lot of fine tulip trees, but this double tree is the crown jewel. It grows about 300 feet south of where the above photo was taken.
AllensParkTallTulipPoplar.png
158' was the highest measurement I could get for the larger trunk. This tree is amazing! A straight-up shot I took revealed a height of 152', so it is the real deal.

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