Presque Isle: new Erie County old growth area?   Linda Luthringer
  Dec 09, 2003 15:37 PST 
Bob & Tom,

My ankle and knee has been feeling much better lately, so I decided to take a driving tour for old growth along the Lake Erie Coast in Erie County, PA. I started just west of the Coho Property near the Elk Creek Access Area and worked my way east while searching the side roads and cliffs towards Presque Isle State Park.

I think I bumped into a possible small old growth area in Erie County adjacent to Presque Isle Bay. It is located just east of the proposed building site for the new state building at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park. I wasn't able to get out and take a closer look, but from about 80 yards out the gnarled twisted crowns of old American beech had me reciting on of Bruce's favorite sayings, "oh my gawd, oh mY GAWD!!!" I noted at least Am. beech, N. red oak, and tuliptree over 150+(age). The beech and red oak are probably just over, or very near 200 years old. The crowns of the beech trees were massively gnarled. All I can say is that the trunks were big, easily over 9ft CBH, maybe closer to 11, except that their bases dropped down over the edge of the hill and were out of site from the vehicle.

There was no question about age for this small section of old trees. I bet there'll be some old sugar maples in here as well. I could only scan some of this area from my vehicle, but we're looking at least at 1-5 acres of very old trees that cover the cliff face, some on the top of the ridge, but most of it drops down over the edge to some extent. Not being more mobile is killing me.

In the past I've measured some large N. red oak just west of this site to over 10ft CBH and pushing close to 100ft. I'm not sure yet whether the heights will be noteworthy, but there are definitely some nice old trees in this area. This site overlooks the extreme western end of Presque Isle Bay. This small area is the best section of old trees I've come across so far in my search of old growth in coves adjacent to Lake Erie.

The Lake Erie coastline is quickly being gobbled up by development of various sorts. There are very small remnants of very mature trees all along the coast, but most of these areas are dotted with housing developments and rich estates. I believe this small site, may be one of the best views into the past of what the French, Indians, and British were looking at during the 1760's of the French & Indian War during their fight to secure Fort Presque Isle and the portage south to the Ohio River watershed at Fort Pitt.

Re: new Erie County old growth area?   Linda Luthringer
  Dec 09, 2003 21:47 PST 


There are some cottonwoods in the area, but very few will break 100ft
although there are a number in the 9-11ft CBH range. There might be some
worth mentioning in this new grove. There are some impressive cottonwoods
on private estates, but I've yet to see any decent ones in a forest type