Ordway Pines, Norway ME Aug. 21, 2012

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Ordway Pines, Norway ME Aug. 21, 2012

Post by tomhoward » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:13 pm

3 Great White Pines
3 Great White Pines
White Pine over 140 ft. tall next to snag
White Pine over 140 ft. tall next to snag

Jack Howard and I visited this grove on this beautiful sunny day. Ordway Pines is featured in The Sierra Club Guide to the Ancient Forests of the Northeast, as the site of the greatest White Pines in Maine. This is a realistic claim, and Bob Leverett has measured a White Pine there to 152.5 ft. in 2006 or later, the tallest accurately measured tree in Maine. These huge towering White Pines are an awesome sight, soaring high into the sky far, far over our heads. We had to keep craning our necks to look up into the crowns so far above us.

The approach to this grove was quite unassuming, through an ordinary neighborhood, till we came to a sign saying “Ordway Grove” by a small dirt parking lot on Pleasant St. in Norway across from near the intersection of Pleasant St. with Maple St.

A trail leads into the grove, through a patch of Japanese Knotweed (I believe, called “Mexican Bamboo” in the site brochure). There are also native plants like New England Aster, which was starting to bloom. The trail enters the grove by an old stone wall, by which a large Red Oak grows. So far not very impressive. But go a few steps up the trail and the great Pines appear, seeming to be impossibly tall, far taller and larger than the Bowdoin Pines. These were the largest and tallest trees we saw on our New England trip.

There are not very many of these great White Pines, maybe 20 or 30 trees, in densely packed groups. The big Pine area covers about 2 or 3 acres of the 9-acre Ordway Grove. The big Pines are easily over 200 years old, with the oldest possibly 300 years old or more. They have rough bark to high in the canopy, rugged old windswept crowns as typical of great old growth White Pines. The area where the old Pines grow has classic old growth characteristics like snags, coarse woody debris (old downed logs in varying states of decay), pit and mound topography, various types of Fungi. The rest of the Ordway Grove is mainly 2nd growth.

White Pine is the dominant tree in the oldest part of Ordway Grove. Associate trees include Hemlock (some big trees), Beech, Yellow Birch, Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Striped Maple, Red Oak.

I measured several trees, and due to difficulties in seeing the tops, as trees are in leaf, could not see the highest points of the trees. Hence, the heights listed here are lower than the actual heights of the trees.

Trees measured:

White Pine 135 ft. +
White Pine straight up shot at least 120 ft. to lower crown, 32.4” dbh, this tree next to White Pine snag
White Pine in group of 3 tall White Pines, straight up shot, at least 135 ft. into crown
White Pine 140.4 ft. by Ice Road Trail, snag next to this tree
White Pine 143 ft. in same group
White Pine 141.7 ft. in same group
White Pine 128.2 ft.
White Pine 37.5” dbh, rough bark to lofty height
White Pine 137.2 ft. fairly slender
White Pine 132 ft. in group of 3
White Pine 141.5 ft. across Main Trail from biggest White Pine
White Pine 140 ft. + (could not see top, tree taller), 48” dbh, biggest tree in grove, biggest tree seen on New England trip
White Pine about 120 ft. at edge of younger White Pine group
Red Oak 31.9” dbh, by Main Trail

After reluctantly leaving this glorious grove, Jack and I continued west toward New Hampshire, on our way back to North Syracuse. The route west, on ME route 117 to US route 302 toward New Hampshire, went through some very beautiful country, with low mountains, lakes with shores lined with tall White Pines. Along the roads were seemingly countless groves of tall fragrant rough-barked White Pines well over 100 ft. tall. It was an enchantingly beautiful drive, and towns like Bridgton, ME, Fryeburg, ME are filled with big tall White Pines. Large picturesque Pitch Pines are mixed among the White Pines in some places.

We pulled off of Rt. 302 in Bridgton (to get a tail gating truck off our back), and stumbled across beautiful Shorey Park by Highland Lake. In this park was a grove of tall White Pines rising out of a lawn, and I measured an average one, no taller than its neighbors, to a height of 124.4 ft. There are White Pines like this everywhere in this western part of Maine.

I am enclosing 2 pictures of the Ordway Pines taken by Jack Howard with his cellphone camera.

Tom Howard

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Ordway Pines, Norway ME Aug. 21, 2012

Post by Larry Tucei » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:23 am

Tom, The three Whites in the photo are really cool. It’s amazing how pines can grow so close together like that. It reminds me of the Redwoods. When the weather down this way cools off I'll get back in the Forest to measure some tall Spruce, Loblolly, and Slash Pines. The Central Ms Forests (Piney Woods) it’s sometimes called have the same fragrance you described in your other posting. Come on October! Yea! Larry

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Re: Ordway Pines, Norway ME Aug. 21, 2012

Post by ElijahW » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:55 am


Sounds like you two had a great time! I've made a drive or two along a similar route through Maine, NH, VT, and NY's Adirondacks. It seems to always refresh my soul. I hope the experience had the same effect on you.

In regards to your first photo, something I've been noticing lately is how similar old-growth white pine bark is to sassafras bark-almost identical color and texture, though different odors and feel. Anyways, thanks for sharing. Enjoy what's left of that vanishing mist known as the CNY summer.

"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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