Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

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ElijahW
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Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:34 pm

Erik and Bob,

Interestingly, the emergent pines in the photo have not been measured; they’re on the west side of the brook. I expect that group will be similarly productive.

On State-owned Forest Preserve land in the eastern Adirondacks, even moderately rich sites are worth looking into these days. I’m looking forward to seeing how these stands develop over the next few decades.

Elijah
"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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ElijahW
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Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Post by ElijahW » Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:12 pm

NTS,

Grizzle Ocean Trail: Putnam Pond Trailhead to Pharaoh Lake 5.6 Miles (11.2 out & back) 8/5/18

White Pine

141.4’ x 8.7’

Red Spruce

114.8’ x 7.35’

White Ash

109.1’ x 9.4’

Black Cherry

102.2’

Hemlock

~225 rings 20’ above ground level
Fallen Hemlock, likely 250-300 years old
Fallen Hemlock, likely 250-300 years old
Tall Red Spruce
Tall Red Spruce
Same Spruce; note dead shaded branches still attached
Same Spruce; note dead shaded branches still attached
Grizzle Ocean
Grizzle Ocean
Though more data needs to be collected for verification, I believe at least a small section of the forest along this trail should be considered virgin. The fallen and cut hemlock was one of many that shared similar age characteristics in the bark and crown, and some hardwoods also showed advanced age. This is the highest ring count I’ve had so far in the Wilderness Area, and is quite an encouragement for me to continue searching.

Generally, the trail from Putnam Pond to Pharaoh Lake is uninterrupted Northern hardwoods. White Ash and Sugar Maple make up the majority of the canopy-level trees, together with the occasional Red Maple, Basswood, or Yellow Birch. This species composition, along with an isolated nice stand of Black Cherry, suggests a fairly even aged second growth forest, likely dating from the late 19th century.

The Red Spruce is a personal best for height; you may notice by the photo that it’s not an old tree, still retaining its shaded dead branches. Apparently it’s a fast grower for a its species, and has a vigorous top.

White pines are nearly absent from the trail itself, though you’ll come into some approaching Pharaoh Lake. The day-use and campground area surrounding Putnam Pond, however, is loaded with nice pines, and some of them should break into the 130’ range, no problem.

Elijah
"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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dbhguru
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Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Post by dbhguru » Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:19 pm

Elijah,


Soooper! You're closing in on my personal best for red spruce. I've made it to 117 feet around Mason lake south of Indian Lake.

The Dacks in the north and the Smokies in the south are the old growth jewels of the East. That said, the Dacks have so many places that are in rugged terrain that deterred logging that the discoveries can continue for years.

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

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ElijahW
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Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Post by ElijahW » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:23 am

NTS,

Yesterday I remeasured the heights of the first two trees mentioned in this thread, back in April 2017. Both White Pines are looking great. They now stand 155.5’ and 152.3’ tall, respectively.

Two White Pines of similar size had fallen across the trail and been cut. I was able to get rough ring counts from both trees, and it appears that neither was much more than 100 years old when they fell. I had assumed previously that the pines in this small group (maybe a dozen individuals) were between 150 and 200 years old, but now it seems likely that they don’t go back farther than 1890 or so. This was a good reminder to not just rely on bark character and pure size when estimating age in a tree.

Elijah
"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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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Post by Erik Danielsen » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:15 am

That's very interesting information regarding the age of the fallen pines. I think that with regards to bark character development we still have a lot to figure out in terms of cork cambium growth rate vs. diameter growth rate vs. weathering rate, and how different combinations of those parameters can interact to create the bark character states we associate with younger or older trees. There have definitely been some trees that seemed to me to have "younger" bark for their species that turned out to be pretty old, and on the other hand white pines is a species in which I've seen trees I knew to be younger that had bark I'd visually assume to indicate an older tree.

The growth rates you've documented in Newcomb support that those heights are realistic for white pines a little over 100 years old in the adirondacks. Do you think typical stem mass is also comparable between the sites?

Really makes me wonder about the age of the Slow River Pine.

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ElijahW
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Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Post by ElijahW » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:24 pm

Erik,

I wonder about the Slow River Pine, as well. My current thoughts are that the area was at least high-graded for softwoods in the mid- to late-19th century. Of course, that’s just a theory, and we really don’t have any solid proofs of age right now.

Using the eye test, I would guess that the Pharaoh Lake pines are 20-30% larger (on average) in terms of volume than the Newcomb demonstration stand pines; they’re a few feet taller, but close to double the CBH.

Coring trees on sites with unknown histories may be our best bet.

Elijah

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ElijahW
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Re: Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Essex & Warren Counties, NY

Post by ElijahW » Mon May 18, 2020 3:28 pm

NTS,

Desolate Brook (Western Side) (~7 miles round trip) 5/3/20

Eastern White Pine

127.3' x 11.48'

Yep, that's the only tree measured from this section of the Wilderness Area. The area looked promising from satellite images and from across the brook, but these trees are just not in the same class as the trees on the eastern side. The pines are restricted to just a couple of groves, growing mostly on ridges. I'm sure I didn't get the tallest White Pine, but I didn't see anything that topped 135' or so. The hardwoods that dominate here are likewise unimpressive; I'm not sure if this area was heavily cut or burned or both.

Pharaoh Lake Brook Trail 5/3/20

Red Pine

123.0' x 4.70'
121.1' x 4.39'

These Red Pines are in a plantation along the trail north of the designated parking area and likely date to the 1930s. Both exceed the current height record for NY State (also in Pharaoh Lake).

Sucker Brook Trail (Eastern extension, south shoulder of Pharaoh Mountain) 5/3/20

Eastern White Pine

150.3' x 10.53'

White Ash

128.4'
92.6' x 11.13'

This section of the Wilderness area invites more off-trail exploration. The two White Ashes are in roughly the same area as the 131-footer, and the White Pine is not far away. I had to get going because of the late hour, but will return when I'm able. I expect to get some very good hardwood numbers here, and the same goes for White Pine and Hemlock.

Elijah

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