Here is a slight re-write of what I sent to DCR today.
Today, I went to Zoar Gap to further check on the condition of the forest after Irene. Given the horrendous damage to the campground, I wanted to send some good news. At the gap, I met 15-year old Andrew Row and his mother. Andrew has bought a Nikon Prostaff 440 laser rangefinder on Ebay and a Suunto clinometer, and is determined to become a good tree measurer. I had promised to give Andrew instructions on how to use the laser-clinometer combination and elected to combine instructions with a check on the Oneida and Joseph Brant pines in the Shunpike area of Mohawk. While his mother waited, Andrew and I headed up the ridge to the northwest to check on the big trees. An initial check on Magic Maple confirmed that the large red maple is doing very good.
We next went to the Kershner Pine and confirmed its condition. It has grown a little since I first started measuring it in 2007. The Kershner pine is 9.5 feet in girth and now 151.2 feet tall. We then went up the ridge to Oneida Pine and measured it. The tall pine is 10.1 feet in girth and 156.4 feet tall. It continues to gain height and bulk in its upper limbs. Its radial growth at breast height is very slow.
Just above the Oneida Pine, I spotted a black birch with roots engulfing a rock. It was hard to distinguish where roots ended and rock began, as you can see in this next image.
The final destination was the big Joseph Brant Pine up the ridge from the Oneida Pine. The Brant Pine was discovered by Gary Beluzo back around 2001 or 2002, if I remember correctly. Today, we put a target on the trunk to use with the lasers, determined the mid-slope position, and moved up hill. It took some time, but we managed to find a peephole and got satisfactory laser and clinometer readings. Both lasers agreed on distances to crown and target. The result of the calculations is a height of 160.2 feet. I didn’t re-measure the girth, but it is between 11.1 and 11.15 feet. Here is an image of the Brant Pine with Andrew Row in the image for scale.
The Brant Pine becomes the 13th white pine in Mohawk to reach 160 feet or more in height. The full list for Mohawk follows. Heights and girths are in feet. Volumes are in cubic feet.
How does Mohawk fair in the Northeast? If we define the geographical Northeast as east of Ohio and north of latitude 40 degrees, then the following table lists the numbers of 160-foot white pines in the Northeast by property. There may be others, but we haven’t found them.
Mohawk Trail State Forest ranks #2 among Northeastern sites for white pines 160 feet or more in height. There are likely a few New York sites with at least one pine in each site in the 160-foot height range. With enough searching, I would guess that the total number for the Northeast might go as high as 65, but it is highly unlikely that other than Cook Forest, we will find another site with more than Mohawk.
With the extensive damage caused by Irene, we can take pleasure in knowing that the great trees of Mohawk and Monroe came through relatively unscathed.
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
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- Larry Tucei