Erie Bluffs State Park, PA   Kirk Johnson
  Aug 29, 2005 20:58 PDT 
Dale, Bob, Scott,

I understand there is some old-growth in the newly
established Erie Bluffs State Park toward the west end of the park in the
Duck Run ravine. I've walked to the shoreline at the east end of the park
near Elk Creek, and saw some large oaks, but I understand the biggest trees
can be found along Duck Run.

RE: Erie Bluffs State Park, PA   Dale J. Luthringer
  Aug 30, 2005 18:02 PDT 

I’ve been all over that sight and haven’t found anything that I’m
willing to risk my reputation on as old growth unless we’re talking
early successional climax communities. The tallest section of trees is
located in the Duck Run ravine. A few tuliptrees here are in the upper
130ft class and one or two lower 140ft class, with one 120ft class N.
red oak. It can be argued that the entire bluffs region is a type of
young age climax community. The banks are continually sloughing off
resulting in dominance by early successional species.

There are a few select trees of age along the escarpment, but virtually
anything that is accessible (not on/over the escarpment) has been logged
within the last 70 years, some within the last 5-30 years before the
site was handed over to the state. A very small area (<5 acres) may
have been logged last around 120 years ago. The oldest core I was able
to obtain on that site was on a small stature hemlock near the
escarpment to ~170 years. The oldest oaks, tulips, and sugar maples on
the edge that I cored approached ~120 years max. There are some select
large oaks and tulips here, but the best was removed a long time ago.

I believe a better example of an older age stand would be the first
ravine system east of Elk Creek in the Lake Erie Community Park. There
are a number of old sugar maple, Am. beech, and N. red oaks along the
escarpment in this area. Probably the best example of old growth Lake
Erie escarpment community in Erie County, PA would be in the vicinity of
Scott Community Park east of the entrance to Presque Isle State Park.
There are some ancient cucumbertrees here, probably surpassing 250 years
old, if not 300. I’ve never seen so many large and old cukes’ in one
place before in PA.

There are some unique plants and other fauna that utilize the Coho site
(re-named Erie Bluffs). The bank swallows are quite impressive here.
It would be difficult to find a more substantial bank swallow community
in the entire state.

Here’s what we have for the Rucker Index for this site:

Coho Property 
Rucker Index   115.75

Species            CBH     Height   Status

Tuliptree            8.4        140.3
Cottonwood       8.5        125.4    tallest recorded PA        
N. red oak         9.7        123.4
White ash         7.4        120.5
Sugar maple      9.3        117.1
E. hemlock        N/A       109.3
Am. beech        6.4        108.3
Black cherry      7.6        105.1
Butternut           5.7        104.6    tallest recorded PA
Pignut hickory   5          103.4

Sure would’ve been impressive to see this site before the last
“whacking”. If you do ever get to visit the Erie Bluffs site again,
look to right (north) just after you cross Elk Creek on RT5. There is a
dandy sycamore, and even larger black walnut (~14-15ft CBH) that has
fallen over the years. I think if we wanted a picture of what old
growth used to look like at this site, imagine the size of those two
trees being proliferated across much of this entire site.


Coho Property update 9/8/06
  Sep 08, 2006 14:37 PDT 


Just a quick update on what I've described earlier as the 'Coho Property'. It
has recently been designated 'Erie Bluffs State Park'. It is the newest state
park in Pennsylvania.

In late May I had a training opportunity on site where I was able to take a
little time measuring/re-measuring specific trees.

A re-measure of the tall cottonwood on site, tallest known in the state, from
directly underneath put the tree now at 8.5ft CBH x 126.1+ft high.

I was also able to find a new taller E. hemlock and Am. beech on site which also
raised the site Rucker Index to 116.28, which makes it 10th out of 29 for PA
sites surveyed:

Species          CBH   Height Comments

tuliptree 8.4 140.3
cottonwood 8.5 126.1 tallest PA
N. red oak 9.7 123.4
white ash 7.4 120.5
sugar maple 9.3 117.1
E. hemlock N/A 111.3
Am. Beech 6.3 111
black cherry 7.6 105.1
butternut 5.8 104.6 2nd tallest PA
pignut hickory 5 103.4

Best Regards,