Dark Hollow Park, Bucks County, PA George Fieo
August 24, 2009


On 8/8/09 I visited Dark Hollow Park located in Bucks Co., Pa.  The park is
a result of a dam proposal along the Neshaminy Creek that was cancelled in
the late 1980's when found to be environmentally and economically
unfeasible.  The park is just over four miles in length by way the crow
flies and runs through Doylestown, Warwick, and Buckingham Townships.  The
park is divided north to south by the Neshaminy Creek and east to west by
State Rte. 263 (York Rd.).

The park is reported to have old hemlocks and very old oaks which is what
had drawn me to the park.  I had only enough time to explore the southwest
portion of the park which is mostly lowland hardwoods dominated by bitternut
hickory.  There are no maintained trails in this section of the park and
only a well worn footpath along the creek which is about 300 yards in length
and overgrown with multi-flora rose.  I used deer trails for most of my

I found a small parking area along Valley Rd. and headed west along the
footpath.  The first tree that caught my eye was a magnolia.  I don't know
what kind of magnolia it is but it seems large for it's species.  Two of
it's leaders are growing along the ground for more than 15' before shooting


Unidentified magnolia. View Download

The magnolia is growing in a narrow portion of the park between the creek
and the road.  There is an old farmhouse directly across the street and most
likely planted by the original owner.


Leaves of unidentified magnolia. View Download

From the magnolia I could see two large white oak.  I headed up the trail
and made my way through the briars to get to the oaks.  They looked old and
weathered.  The smaller of the two had lost a portion of it's top.  They
measured 12.1' x 71.2' and 15' x 92.9'.  These oaks and magnolia are within
50 yards of the parking lot.


15' white oak with 12.1' white oak in background. View Download

Leaving the oaks I could see an old tree line planted with fat, gnarly
osage-orange that's being over grown by the younger forest.  Here I bumped
some deer that were bedded in the multi-flora rose under the canopy of the
100' bitternut hickories.  Back on the footpath I passed a couple of
sycamore and a handful of white oaks with circumferences over 12'.  All of
them growing along the creek bank.  A young black gum growing under one of
the oaks caught my eye.  A beaver had gnawed more than halfway through it.
The wound doesn't look fresh and amazingly it's top is green.


Black gum vs. beaver. View Download

Continuing upstream I came across a large sycamore.  It seems to be a double
stem.  It's the tallest of the sycamores and measures 18.7' x 105.9'.  Above
the sycamore on a gentle slope were some large trees, possibly part of an
old property line.  The largest being a tulip poplar with a 12.6' cbh.  The
canopy was to thick to get a height measurement.  I passed through several
swampy areas dominated by red maple and a few large swamp white oaks.  I
caught the flight of a great horned owl out of the corner of my eye and when
my eyes settled back on the forest floor I was staring at a beautiful
american hornbeam.  It's the largest I have personally seen at 3.1' x 45.1'
with a max spread of 55'.


3.1' x 45.1' American  hornbeam. View Download

Trekking on I came across a mature grove of upland hardwoods above a steep
ridge overlooking the Neshaminy Creek.  A large hemlock surrounded by a few
of it's dead offspring sat atop the ridge and was the only mature hemlock I
saw with a cbh of 8.9'.  I believe most of the large hemlocks are in the
eastern portion of the park.  The largest tree in this grove is a dead
northern red oak at 11.5' x 110.2'.  

Passing through the mature hardwoods the forest appeared younger.  I was
getting tired and short on time.  I could see an opening in the forest floor
about 150 yards ahead of me and decided to have a quick look around before I
headed back to my truck.  I'm glad I did. A monster pin oak was shading out
the understory.  It's 14.8' x 102.3' x 98'.  It's now the second largest pin
oak for Pa.  Who knows what else Dark Hollow Park has hiding in it's


14.8' x 102.3' pin oak. View Download


14.8' x 102.3' pin oak View Download

Dark Hollow Park Site Index        8/8/09  

Species                                 CBH        Height   Comment
A Hornbeam                      1.8          40.1
A hornbeam                       1.4          42.3
A Hornbeam                      3.1          45.1        max spread 55'
Bitternut Hickory              8.1          112.7    
Bitternut Hickory              6.5          116.1
Black Gum                           7.1          70.9
Black Gum                           9.5          90.2
Black Walnut                      7.3          103.2
Black Walnut                      6.0          110.1
Box Elder                             3.9          78.0
E Hemlock                           8.9          N/A
E Hophornbeam               2.0          40.4
E Hophornbeam               2.3          46.1
Flowering Dogwood       1.5          31.7
Hawthorn Spp.                  1.9          35.7
N Red Oak                           11.5        110.2     dead
N Red Oak                           11.2        119.9
Pin Oak                                 9.0          98.8
Pin Oak                                 14.8        102.3     12x100, 2nd largest Pa.
Pin Oak                                 7.8          102.9
Red Maple                          7.5          84.3
Red Maple                          7.8          95.6
River Birch                           5.2          51.9
Sassafras                             4.7          85.8
Shagbark Hickory             5.0          99.6
Shagbark Hickory             8.1          101.5
Slippery Elm                       5.8          85.1
Sugar Maple                       5.9          99.2
Sugar Maple                       7.7          111.2
Swamp White Oak           9.7          87.3
Swamp White Oak           8.8          96.1
Swamp White Oak           11.1        99.7
Swamp White Oak           9.3          105.4
Sycamore(2x)                    18.7        105.9
Tulip Poplar                        12.6        98.5
Tulip Poplar                        8.8          111.5
White Ash                           9.9          95.0
White Ash                           5.6          106.1
White Ash                           9.1          111.7
White Oak                           12.1        71.2        top out
White Oak                           12.8        N/A
White Oak                           13.5        77.5
White Oak                           15.0        92.9

Rucker Height Index

Species                                 CBH        Height

N Red Oak                           11.2        119.9
Bitternut Hickory                   6.5          116.1
White Ash                             9.1          111.7
Tulip Poplar                          8.8          111.5
Sugar Maple                         7.7          111.2
Black Walnut                        6.0          110.1
Sycamore(2x)                       18.7        105.9
Swamp White Oak               9.3          105.4
Pin Oak                                7.8          102.9
Shagbark Hickory                8.1          101.5

RHI                                                    109.62

Rucker Girth Index

Species                                 CBH        Height

White Oak                             15.0        92.9
Pin Oak                                 14.8        102.3
Tulip Poplar                           12.6        98.5
N Red Oak                           11.5        110.2
Swamp White Oak                11.1        99.7
White Ash                             9.9          95.0
Black Gum                            9.5          90.2
E Hemlock                           8.9          N/A
Bitternut Hickory                  8.1          112.7
Shagbark Hickory                8.1          101.5

RGI                                         10.95

There was a 12'+ sycamore along the creek that I couldn't measure also.


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