Lake Erie Community Park   Linda Luthringer
  Jan 24, 2004 10:04 PST 
Bob, Tom,

As my ankle heals I'm starting to get more adventurous, although I'm not ready to venture into the bottom of steep ravines to get CBH measurements. On 1/17/04 I was able to get a few quick measurements in an un-named steep ravined tributary into Lake Erie. The site is Lake Erie Community Park located along Lake Erie at the extreme west boundary of Lake City, PA.

There are a few old sugar maples, Am. beech, and N. red oak remnants in this small maturing hardwood forest. The largest N. reds will certainly go over 12ft CBH, but they will most likely not break 90ft. The largest N. reds were left on the escarpment and are poor lumber quality, which is probably why they were left. It's probably the same reason for the large sugars being left also.

I was impressed with the heights of the sugar maples and tuliptrees with my earlier trip to this area just before I broke my ankle (I didn't bring my laser-shame on me). I was able to get a few heights on a couple of trees though last week. Here are some preliminary results:

Species        CBH    Height    Comments

Am. beech    N/A     99.4+
sugar maple N/A     119.7      one of the taller ones I've come across so far in PA, CBH definitely over 10ft
tuliptree        N/A     127.8+    probably over 130
tuliptree        N/A     128.3+    probably over 130
tuliptree        N/A     138.9+    probably over 140

I'm anxious to get some CBH measurements for the large sugars in there. There are some remnant large N. reds and sugars in selected areas along the Lake Erie coastline terraces. I just haven't been able to find a forest that hasn't been logged of them yet. I'm hoping the Coho Property (Eagle's Nest) just west of this site still has some surprises.

Re: Lake Erie Community Park
  Jan 25, 2004 02:58 PST 


   Congratulations. It sounds like your ankle is doing well and you've found fertile hunting ground for several species. It is apparent that the terrain adjacent to the Great Lakes is good tall tree territory. I wonder how many nooks and crannies hide isolated big trees and at least small clumps of exceptionally tall trees?

   I doubt that I'll get back into the field before late March to resume tree measuring work, but my thoughts will be with those of you who are braving the cold and even limping on fractured ankles. All weekends in February will be devoted to special programs for my wife. Then early March will be devoted to the next Forest conference, so this year will be a late one for a return to the forest.

Lake Erie Community Park update   Dale J. Luthringer
  Mar 04, 2004 06:36 PST 
Bob, Colby, Tom,

I had about an hour of free time yesterday, so I thought I'd take my
'Russel', appropriately named 'Bug', and spent it checking out another
Lake Erie ravine site in Erie County, PA called 'Lake Erie Community
Park'. I finally got some decent readings on one of the tall tulips and
one ancient sugar maple. There are some large CBH N. red oaks and
sugars on the escarpment, but their heights are not significant. There
is still a lot of work to do at this site, so I bypassed most of the
escarpment trees. One such N. red oak went to 13.9ft CBH x 86.2ft high.

The main ravine drops about 110ft from the escarpment. The ravine is
very steep in parts, but not cliff-like. There are some old Am. beech
(200+), sugar maple (175+), and N. red oak (150+) in here. I believe
the older tuliptrees in are probably approaching 120-150 years. Some of
these tulips are starting to get some decent spooning bark characters,
along with balding about 3' up from its base. I'm not sure what else
I'll find as I continue to work upstream on future trips. The stream is
composed mostly of shale with silty edges. There is recent evidence of
small mudslides on small tributaries into the main ravine. This is the
first site that I've found horsetails growing in abundance on lower silt
flats. What kind of site indicator does horsetail suggest?

Sadly, the hill top near the picnic tables of this community park has a
decent amount of garbage, ATV trails, and recent logging, but the main
ravine has been left relatively untouched since the logging boom went
through here in the mid 1800's. The main detractor for me though were
the tics. This site is loaded with them. I must have pulled about 8-10
off me from various and sundry places (none of them were successful in
finding "the prize"), and another half dozen off 'The Bug'. Bug didn't
seem to mind though. She was too enthralled about getting me to play
the stick game.

The days tally as follows:

Species            CBH     Height   Comments

Am. beech        9.5        101.7
Am. beech        10.7      103.5    gorgeous beech, nice columnar trunk
E. hemlock        N/A       79.6
E. hemlock        N/A       82.9
N. red oak         13.9      86.2      escarpment
Sugar maple      11.7      122.3    2nd tallest I've found so far in PA,
largest forest grown single stem I've found also
                                                42 1.689N x 80 21.342W

Tuliptree            10.1      105.5
Tuliptree            8.9        120.9
Tuliptree            8.4        129.1
Tuliptree            7.6        129.8
Tuliptree            8.7        131.6
Tuliptree            8.1        140.4    I thought this tree would go to
140. I had 138+ on a previous trip.

There are some other nice trees in here. I suspect hemlock will go to
100' farther upstream. There are some more old sugars too, but I don't
think they'll beat the height of the one above. Same with tulip. 140ft
is probably the max, 145 would be a big surprise. I just don't think
this ravine is deep enough to get much more than that. Sure would be
nice to find a cucumber or elm in here.

Lake Erie Community Park update   Dale J. Luthringer
  Mar 22, 2004 13:27 PST 
Bob, Will, Colby,

I recently worked off some of my ‘Forest Summit Cancellation’
frustration by further cataloguing the forests of the Pennsylvania Lake
Erie gorge systems. I spent a good bit of time scouring the ridges and
drainage of Lake Erie Community Park. As described before, this ravine
system has very steep valley walls with mostly silt/shale substrate.

There are a number of scattered trees of age at this site. I think the
most impressive species in terms of age would be the sugar maple which
are located on the Lake Erie Escarpment and on steep fingers located
farther back in the drainage. I would bet that these trees were left in
place during the 1800’s logging era due to their poor form, even back
then. The escarpment sugars are especially gnarly. Their twisted tops
and root systems, burl ridden trunks, balding bark, and stunted stature
are excellent evidence of advanced age. Sugars in the 225+ range are
probably an understatement here. There are a number of Am. beech that
will go 200+, with a select few E. hemlocks that I may go even a bit
higher. N. red oak even made a nice show to probably 175-200 also. The
oldest tuliptrees are probably approaching 100-125, possibly 150,
depending on when the logging occurred, with balding that’ll reach about
1-3ft up the trunk from its base. Am. chestnut stumps are evident. I
suspect small portions of this area might be categorized as secondary
old growth by certain ENTS members, but I’m so spoiled at Cook that if
it’s not pristine, I have a hard time calling it old growth.

It is the best example of intact old trees that I’ve been able to
observe along the Lake Erie Escarpment. I was able to come up with a
new personal single stem sugar maple CBH record, and an absolutely drop
dead gorgeous N. red oak. The new PA Am. beech height champ though, was
just icing on the cake. Most of the day was spent being serenaded by a
mob of 30+ crows on two great horned owls, and wading through waist deep
leeward escarpment snowdrifts. Bob, tack on two more trees for our
12x100 list…

The day’s tally as follows:

Species                        CBH     Height Comments

Am. beech                    N/A       106.9
Am. beech                    8.6        107.9
Am. beech                    N/A       110
Am. beech                    N/A       110.4
Am. beech                    10.3      125.8    new PA height record
42 1.670N x 80 21.273W

Black cherry                  6.7        97.1
Black cherry                  5.4        106.6

Cucumbertree                2.5        74.9

E. hemlock                    N/A       104.1
E. hemlock                    N/A       105.3
E. hemlock                    7.6        107.5
E. hemlock                    N/A       111
E. hemlock                    8.4        122.3

E. hophornbeam            2.1        63.1+

N. red oak                     12.1      98.4+    couldn’t quite confirm
to 100ft                  42 1.705N x 80 21.251W
N. red oak                     N/A       101.6
N. red oak                     14.9      115.9    gorgeous red oak,
1/2way up leeward slope 42 1.696N x 80 21.113W
N. red oak                     7.7        116.3

Red maple                     8.6        105.1+

Sugar maple                  10         84.4      escarpment tree, very
Sugar maple                  12         90         escarpment tree, very
Sugar maple                  N/A       99.1
Sugar maple                  N/A       107.9
Sugar maple                  13.4      109.1+ personal largest single
stem find             42 1.687N x 80 21.340W

Tuliptree                        7.1        128

White ash                     10.4      84.1+    escarpment tree
White ash                     N/A       112
White ash                     7.8        121.1

White oak                     5.2        89.8      only one found at
this site, upper part of drainage

Yellow birch                   3.2        72.1+
Yellow birch                   4.8        83.4
Yellow birch                   5.2        86

The current Rucker Index for Lake Erie Community Park as follows:

Species            CBH     Height Comments                   Rucker

Tuliptree            8.1        140.4
Am. beech        10.3      125.8    PA height record
Sugar maple      11.7      122.3
E. hemlock        8.4        122.3
White ash         7.8        121.1
N. red oak         7.7        116.3
Black cherry      5.4        106.6
Red maple         8.6        105.1+
White oak         5.2        89.8
Yellow birch       5.2        86

This site easily tops the nearly adjacent Coho Property (RI = 109.59),
soon to be ‘Presque Isle State Park West’, in terms of tree height.
This ravine is also about 50ft deeper than Coho and much smaller in
size. I found evidence of an old 1800’s bracket dam/lumber mill about ½
mile upstream from its confluence into Lake Erie. The stream is not
considerable in size, maybe 10-20ft wide by 0.5-1ft deep with mostly a
silty substrate. Horsetails abound in certain areas. This site should
be nice for wildflowers come spring.